ENGLAND’S World Cup stars have sent their best wishes to the 12 Thai boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave as rescuers face a race against time to get them out.
Central defender John Stones said he hopes the group “get out safe and sound” after footage emerged of one of the boys appearing to wear a red England shirt – a replica of the kit worn by the team during their dramatic penalty shootout win over Colombia on Tuesday.
The one-minute video Thai Navy SEAL video shows the boys in good spirits, with them laughing and saying they are healthy.
Each of the team were seen making a traditional Thai greeting gesture to the camera before introducing themselves by a nickname, adding: “I’m in good health.”
Asked about the situation in a press conference before England’s crunch World Cup quarter final tie against Sweden on Saturday, the Manchester City player said all of the squad’s thoughts are with the trapped group.
He said: “I’ve been speaking about it with a few of the boys – it sort of brings home what people’s situations are at the minute, and it’s so sad to see where they are and we hope they get out safe and sound.
“They won’t see this but to everyone, their friends and family, all of the boys, all of the England squad, all of our thoughts are with them and we want to see them get out safe and sound.”
The multi-nation rescue mission has seen desperate attempts to pump millions of litres of water out of the cave network as they try to extract the stranded group through nearly a mile of tunnels before forecasted heavy rains batter the island on Saturday.
But if floods rush in quicker than expected, officials fear the group could be stuck there for up to four months, with Thailand’s monsoon seasons typically lasting well into October.
The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach, were trapped inside the Tham Luang Non cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai after they explored the passageways following a football game on June 23.
On Monday night, two elite British divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, were the first to discover the group, who had been tightly huddled on a rocky shelf inside a cave chamber for 12 days.
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation department Deputy Director General Kobchai Boonarana told reporters on Thursday: “Their conditions, we can see that their morale is good but what about their strength and their ability? That’s up to the team inside to decide.
“Our job is to keep pumping out water and it is up to the team inside to assess the safety level and whether the kids can travel safely through.”
Source : Express