The Latest: English, Swedish players hope for cave rescue
Jul. 05, 2018
MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The Latest on the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach in a cave in northern Thailand (all times local):
English and Swedish soccer players competing in the World Cup are sending messages of hope to the members of a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand.
A rescuer filmed one of the boys wearing an England jersey. England defender John Stones says "we're hoping and wishing that they get out safe and sound."
He added that "everyone, their friends and families, all of the boys (here), all the England squad, all our thoughts are with them."
Sebastian Larsson, on the Swedish team that faces England in a quarterfinals match Saturday, also hoped for good news, saying "all you can do in any situation like that is just pray for them."
Rescuers raced to pump water from a flooded cave before trying to extract the 12 boys and their soccer coach ahead of more rain.
The Japanese squad that competed at soccer's World Cup in Russia has tweeted a good-luck message to the 12 members of a youth soccer team trapped with their coach in a cave in northern Thailand. The message delivered from the @jfa_samuraiblue urged them in Japanese: "Don't give up! Hang on!" and in English "Hang on! Football Family are with you."
A Thai navy SEAL who has spent time with the boys in the cave has said they asked about the World Cup results.
Japanese Football Association president Kohzo Tashima afterward praised the national team for sending the public message of support, saying "Japanese players have grown to be able to do these kinds of things naturally, and I realize that Japanese soccer is becoming mature."
"I would like to pray with everyone here so that they are safely rescued," he added at a news conference at Japan's Narita airport. Japan was knocked out of the Cup competition when they were beaten 3-2 by Belgium in the round of 16.
This version corrects the spelling of the JFA president's surname.
Thailand's king says he is "pleased and greatly relieved" that rescuers have found the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were missing in a cave in the country's mountainous north.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun said in a statement released by the government Thursday and dated the day before that the operation could not have been achieved without the unity, dedication and effort of all involved.
He said he wishes those concerned "proceed in great care, assuredness and wisdom, guided by an unwavering faith so that this rescue effort may fully achieve the ultimate success as all of you have wished."
With more rain coming, Thai rescuers are racing against time to pump out water from inside a flooded cave before they can extract 12 boys and their soccer coach.
A firefighter who has been working on draining the water says levels in parts of a passage leading to a chamber where the boys and the coach were found on Monday after missing for 10 days is still flooded all the way to the ceiling, making diving the only way out.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Wednesday that the team may not all be extracted at the same time depending on their health. He said authorities will evaluate their readiness each day and if there is any risk will not proceed.