Mr Narongsak, a former provincial governor, told reportersconditions were now “perfect” and the next three to four days was “the best and most ideal time for the rescue operation”. The rescue team also includes divers and workers from Australia, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe and Asia.
The governor has said the 13 may not be extracted at the same time, depending on their condition.
Rescue teams have been giving the group crash courses in swimming and diving as they prepare to get them out safely.
Those tanks are needed because oxygen levels are dropping, down to an alarming 15 percent.
The Thai defence ministry said a team from a Musk firm with drilling and exploration knowhow should reach the cave on Sunday.
“All the kids are healthy”, he said.
“If we face heavy rain, we must bring the kids out”, he told a midnight press briefing.
In letters home, written on water-stained paper and posted Saturday on Facebook, the boys and their coach sought to reassure their families that they were in good hands and in good spirits.
The monsoon rains are expected to begin in the region within a day.
Saman Kunan had been trying to establish the air line when he passed out and perished.
One of the rescue options include a “buddy dive” from the cave.
It has previously been said that they could be underground for months, either learning to dive or waiting for the water to recede or be pumped out.
Mr Chongklai Worapongsathorn, deputy director-general of the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said many holes have been drilled and many teams have been sent out to look for more, but so far, none of them can lead to where the boys are.
Engineers have been diverting the water flow into the cave over the past week and pumping it out at a rate of 180,000 litres an hour in an attempt to make it easier for the boys to escape and reduce the amount of time they must spend underwater.
“Assessing the situation now, it is necessary to evacuate the area for the rescue operation”, Mae Sai police commander Komsan Sa-ardluan said.
The announcement on Saturday comes one day after a former member of the Thai navy SEAL working as a volunteer died from lack of oxygen. Another navy official said he didn’t believe the man’s oxygen tank ran out.
The cave system in Chiang Rai province, into which they disappeared, is well known for its depth and danger.
“Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission”, Arpakorn said Friday. We would like you to feel relieved.
“If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, FIFA would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final as our guests”, he wrote in a letter to the head of the Football Association of Thailand. When the team entered the cave two weeks ago, the rainy season hadn’t officially started.
The experts say the youngsters, who have been in the cave for two weeks, have not learned adequate diving skills in the short time since searchers reached the area where they are sheltering.
Ekkapol Chantawong was for nine days the only adult with the children – aged 11 to 16 – until they were discovered on a muddy ledge by rescue divers on Monday.
Authorities have been racing to pump out water from the cave before more storms raise the water level again.