Four boys and their coach brought out on third day of rescue. 8 of the boys were extracted on Sunday and Monday
CHIANG RAI (Thailand) — July 10, 2018: All 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for more than two weeks deep inside a flooded Thai cave have been rescued, a Thai navy SEAL unit said today, a successful end to a perilous mission that has gripped the world.
“The 12 Wild Boars and coach have emerged from the cave and they are safe,” the SEAL unit said on its official Facebook page.
The Wild Boars soccer team and their coach got trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after soccer practice and a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.
British divers found the 13, hungry and huddled in darkness on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
After pondering for days how to get the 13 out, a rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers. Another four were rescued yesterday.
Celebrations will be tinged with sadness over the loss of a former Thai navy diver who died last Friday while on a re-supply mission inside the cave in support of the rescue.
The last five were brought out of the cave on stretchers and taken by helicopter to hospital.
Three members of the SEAL unit and an army doctor, who has stayed with the boys since they were found, were the last people due to come out of the cave, the unit said.
Officials have not been commenting on the rescue mission as it has been taking place, so it was not clear what condition those brought out today were in.
The eight boys brought out the last two days were in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said earlier.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around in the hospital.
The boys were still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in
hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.
Honking car horns and live “selfie” videos – this is how some Thais in this northern city and beyond celebrated after all 13 had been safely rescued from a labyrinthine cave complex.
The dramatic rescue marks the end of a more than two-week ordeal which began when the team and their coach
became trapped inside the flooded Tham Luang caves on the border with Myanmar on June 23.
Two British divers found the 13 last Monday but the search and rescue operation has largely been driven by Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit.
“This is an important event in my life. It is something I will remember,” said a visibly emotional Rachapol Ngamgrabuan, an official at Chiang Rai’s provincial press office.
“There were times when I cried,” he added. “Happy. Very happy to see all Thai people love each other.”
Thais have been glued to their televisions, mobile phones and computer screens following every twist and turn of the boys’ story, as have many people overseas.
Thais turned to social media on Tuesday to show their elation using the hashtag #Hooyah, a word used by the navy to build morale. Other hashtags included #Heroes and #Thankyou.
“You are our heroes!” wrote some, captioning cartoons showing the boys and their coach with dozens of rescue workers, volunteers and military personnel.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he would host a celebration for all of those involved in the
multinational rescue effort.
“We will host a meal for all sides,” said Prayuth.
The Manchester United football club said on its official Twitter page that it was relieved to learn that the 13
were safe and extended an invitation for the group and their rescuers to visit its Old Trafford stadium. — Reuters