Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Hero Australian divers thank Thai boys and coach

Hero Australian divers thank Thai boys and coach

But the efforts to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - have proved a monumental challenge.

The footage, released on the Thai Navy SEALs Facebook page, shows members of the soccer team trapped in a cave being stretchered to freedom while seemingly heavily sedated and wearing wetsuits and diving gear.

They spent nine harrowing days trapped in darkness until two British divers found them, looking gaunt but otherwise offering smiles to the divers and appearing to be in remarkably good spirits.

A team of around 100 heroes worked Sunday through Tuesday to get the 12 boys and their coach out of the cave, where they'd been trapped more than two weeks earlier by rising waters.

The Thai SEALs and elite foreign divers extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, on Tuesday afternoon via a perilous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels.

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The 12 boys and their coach rescued over the past three days "took care of themselves well in the cave", Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said at a news conference at the hospital in Chiang Rai city where the group is recovering.

The ninth boy was carried from the cave on a stretcher shortly AFTER 11:00 SAST, Reuters and CNN reported.

Rescuers working at a cave site in northern Thailand have suspended operations for the day after bringing four more boys out of the flooded cave system on Monday.

"My wife actually grew up with the Thai Navy SEAL that died in the cave". Doctors, though, said they'll have to remain in the hospital for treatment for at least a week, insisting they can watch the big game on TV.

The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday are in good health overall, though two are suffering from pneumonia, according to hospital staff cited by AP.

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It has emerged the rescued boys are being held in confinement over fears they have cave disease, which is caused by breathing in fungus from bat and bird droppings. However, doctors later relented after some of the boys asked for bread with chocolate topping.

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their beds.

Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a "kid-sized" submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand's interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said.

But he added rescuers may need more than 20 hours, to replan and replenish oxygen supplies, to be ready to mount the next mission.

Mr Jesada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave". "Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future".

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