MAE SAI, Thailand — The adolescent soccer players trapped for two weeks in a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand don’t want their parents to worry. And they also wouldn’t mind having some fried chicken ready for when they get home.

That’s what’s on the minds of the 12 boys, ages 11-16, according to handwritten notes they sent out with divers who made an 11-hour, back-and-forth journey to act as postmen.

The boys and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped since June 23, when they went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

The only way to reach them is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.

Getting out via the same route looks like the only feasible option, but a high-risk one, Thai officials say. Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.

The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

The local governor supervising the rescue mission said Saturday that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created appropriate conditions for an underwater evacuation, but that they won’t last if it rains again.

Thai officials are stressing that they may have to act very soon – meaning the next couple of days – if weather forecasts are correct because of the possibility that access to the cave could soon close again under flooding from seasonal monsoon rains. Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy downpour.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said that experts told him flooding from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 108 square feet.

“I confirm that we are at war with water and time from the first day up to today,” said Narongsak. “Finding the boys doesn’t mean we’ve finished our mission. It is only a small battle we’ve won, but the war has not ended. The war ends when we win all three battles – the battles to search, rescue and send them home.”

The boys see their situation in less grandiose terms, according to their notes home, which were made public Saturday.

One, identified as Tun, wrote: “Mom and Dad, please don’t worry, I am fine. I’ve told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken. With love.”

“Don’t be worried, I miss everyone. Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all. I’m happy being here inside, the Navy SEALS have taken good care. Love you all,” wrote Mick.

“Night loves Dad and Mom and brother, don’t worry about me. Night loves you all,” wrote Night, in the Thai manner of referring to one’s self in the third person.

The most touching note came from one whose name was not clear: “I’m doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don’t worry. Although, don’t forget to set up my birthday party.”

Another, of indistinct origin, asked their teacher not to give them a lot of homework.

In a letter of his own, the coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, apologized to the boys’ parents for the ordeal. “To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents,” he wrote.

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