Thai officials ruled out any immediate attempts to evacuate 12 football players and their coach trapped deep inside a system of caves in northern Thailand on Saturday despite concerns over low oxygen levels underground and poor weather forecasts.
"I talk to them every day, if they'd like us to take the kids out, it has to be in the minimum risk", he said. "If there's too much risk we will wait but we can not wait until the rain".
The letters provoked a surge of emotion from families, who first endured nine long days before their children were found dishevelled and emaciated but alive on Monday - and now face an agonising wait for a risky evacuation.
A total of 12 boys who range in age from 11-16 and a 25-year old coach have been trapped in the 6-mile long Tham Luang cave in Thailand since the last two weeks. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", Chantawong said in a note given to a diver on Friday and published on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page on Saturday.
"On behalf of the worldwide 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", he wrote.
In this Monday, July 2, 2018, file photo, family members hug after hearing the news that the missing 12 boys and their soccer coach have been found in the flooded cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand.
"Don't worry, we are all strong", one child said in a note. But don't worry. But don't forget my birthday. If I can get out, please take me to have BBQ.
A boy named Mick wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone". Grandpa, uncle, mom dad, and siblings I love you all.
The young football team disappeared after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province following a football game on June 23. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days as the only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.
Authorities continue to pursue a third option: finding a shaft or drilling into the mountain in which the cave is located to find a sort of back door entrance.
In a "message of support and solace", FIFA's president Gianni Infantino invited the boys to travel to Moscow, saying the organisation had been "anxiously following the news of the rescue operation".
The huge operation to rescue the group involves scores of Thai Navy SEALs, in addition to experts and volunteer divers from parts of Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and the US.
The boys have been practising wearing dive masks and breathing in case they have to be brought out underwater, but it has also been suggested that they may have to wait months inside until a safe way out is available.
The risks were underlined by the death on Friday of a Thai Navy SEAL diver, who ran out of oxygen while returning from the chamber where the boys are trapped.
But it looks like authorities are more determined to attempt a rescue right now.
The strategically placed canisters allow divers to stay underwater for longer during what is about a five-hour trip to reach the stranded team.
A spokesman for Musk has previously said that the billionaire's companies may assist by trying to pinpoint the boys' precise location using Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or Boring Co. technology, pumping water or providing heavy-duty battery packs known as Tesla Inc.