The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the cave after a soccer game June 23.
Dozens of Royal Thai Army soldiers rested on rocks outside the cave, with two of them saying they had been told by superiors that the rescue operation would likely begin Sunday or the day after.
The reason the rescue mission is now focussing on providing oxygen is because air in the cave is declining as a result of all the workers inside.
"At first we thought that we could sustain the kids' lives for a long time where they are now, but now, many things have changed", he said, according to The Associated Press.
The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.
The unprecedented rescue effort is attempting to establish new ways to extract the boys from above, if the underground chambers flood and it is deemed too risky to evacuate the team by diving out through the submerged passageways. "They will feel very guilty".
Officials would prefer to get the boys out as soon as possible because heavy rain expected by Saturday will nearly certainly raise water levels again in the cave, making passage in some areas even more hard, if not impossible.
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"We are supporting the frogs team. we have medical teams and divers from the navy with us", Samarn said, referring to Thai military divers by their nickname.
However, it was said that it was possible they would have to wait for at least four months until the monsoon season ends before they are rescued.
Narongsak said experts, who themselves have made the hard journey, were teaching them the rudiments of diving, but that the boys were not yet capable of an arduous and complicated mission. It is only a small battle we've won, but the war has not ended. In the letters, the boys are called by their nicknames by their families, and that is how they are now known by the public.
"I've been speaking about it with a few of the boys", said England defender John Stones, according to British media. "Please tell Yod to take me out to a fried chicken shop".
One boy named Mick wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone". Grandpa, uncle, mum, dad, and siblings I love you all.
Asked how the boys could make it out safely if an experienced diver could not, Apakorn said they would take more precautions with the children. Dad and mom love you.
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". "Teacher, don't give us lots of homework!"
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For the first time since they were found, the boys communicated by letter with their relatives - many camped outside the cave's entrance.
"To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crews are taking good care". I promised that I will take the best care of the boys.
"On behalf of the global football community, I would like to join you in expressing my deepest sympathies and support to the families of the players and coach, as well as my solidarity with the people of Thailand at this time of great concern". The 13 are having health evaluations and rehabilitation, and are being taught diving skills.
Thai divers would lead the mission and U.S. divers would preposition oxygen tanks, the United States official said. A major concern of the rescuers is that oxygen levels in their safe space could fall dangerously low. Although he was able to deliver the supplies to the boys, he lost consciousness on the way back.
The death on Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, underscored the risks of making the underwater journey.
He died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters - passing out underwater - Thai Seal commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew has told reporters. The rescue team also includes divers and workers from Australia, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe and Asia.
Elon Musk also offered his help in the rescue effort, tweeting that, "I suspect that the Thai govt has this under control, but I'm happy to help if there is a way to do so".
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Mr Musk's team could help with location tracking, water pumping or battery power, the Thai government said.