Eric Establie, who was believed to have been trapped when a section of a cave collapsed, was eventually found drowned.
If that does happen, two of Thailand's Navy doctors have already volunteered to stay in the underground chamber for as long as it takes in what is being described as a "huge sacrifice".
This is similar, but instead of teaching the boys to dive, they'll be fitted with wetsuits and full-face oxygen masks and passed along a human chain until they're out of the cave.
Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, a member of the ruling military junta, flagged the prospect of the boys using diving gear while being guided by professional divers.
With intense rain expected shortly, experts say the youngsters may have to quickly learn to dive and swim.
He started caving as a Scout, then progressed to the more risky pastime of cave-diving, where, he says, safety depends on remaining relaxed.
"Diving is not easy".
"We have to be 100 percent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate", Narongsak Osottanakorn, Chiang Rai provincial governor, said on Wednesday. The effort drew global help and has riveted Thailand.
The 12 boys and their coach are seen sitting with Thai navy SEALs in the dark cave with their visibly skinny faces illuminated by the beam of a flashlight.
Divers who braved murky water and strong currents found the soccer team Monday on a dry ledge more than a mile from the mouth of the cave. "Maybe some of the boys have injuries or light injuries and would be categorized as yellow condition".
"If the rain fills up the cave system then that might take months before the water drops again", Belgian diver Ben Reymenants, owner of Blue Label Diving in Thailand who is assisting the search, told AFP.
He added: "They are actually quite responsive...but they are very weak and very skinny". But if the dives are hard then "supply will be hard, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater".
Rescue consultant Pat Moret told CNN they would be faced with "an incredibly hostile situation".
"They need another three or four feet so they can literally float them out with life jackets, but time is not on their side".
The 12 boys are all members of a local football team and their coach is known to have taken them on occasional excursions and field trips. He said they would be brought out via the same complicated route through which their rescuers entered. It was pure speculation that they could be there in one of these two rooms.
Narongsak said Tuesday that the missing were given high-protein liquid food, painkillers and antibiotics. "It was all speculation and pure luck that they were there". "Monday. You have been here - 10 days". "If the cave system (floods) it would make access impossible to the kids". The first thing the boys asked for when they were rescued was food and they are now being fed a high protein diet to regain their strength.
"There are a few ideas to rescue them, some of them are longer and some are shorter".
The only trace of them had been bicycles and soccer cleats found outside the entrance of the complex, and handprints along the cave walls.
Twelve members of a boys' football team and their coach have been found alive after nine days trapped in a cave in Thailand.
But hopes of a speedy resolution to the incident were on a knife-edge today due to the forecast rains. They have been trapped in the cave for 10 days, since Saturday, June 23. The idea is to send experienced cave divers in to teach the boys how to dive themselves.