Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Thai Boys in High Spirits Following Cave Rescue

Thai Boys in High Spirits Following Cave Rescue

The hope that the boys will stay out of the spotlight for some time was one shared by former mine foreman Luis Urzua, who was trapped in a mine in Chile for 69 days following a collapse.

For now the plan is to "revive" an adjacent national park where hundreds of rescue workers and military personnel set up camp during the search and rescue.

On June 28, the US military's Indo-Pacific Command deployed 36 personnel based in nearby Okinawa, including airmen from 353rd Special Operations Group and the 31st Rescue Squadron.

He told the Mail, "We were extremely fortunate that the outcome was the way it was". "It's important to realize how complex and how many pieces of this puzzle had to come together".

Doctors have put the 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old football coach in quarantine while they are being tested for infectious diseases they may have contracted inside the Tham Luang cave complex. Images from the successful, yet dramatic, rescue effort showed the boys lying in covered gurneys as they were being transported to the hospital.

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That gutsy determination was on display today in a video taken from the hospital isolation ward. The youngest boy, 11, appeared to be asleep under a crisp white sheet.

"It was mostly a matter of clambering through mud, which was very tough", Ben Reymenants said. "I've got a beer in my hand, I'm going to enjoy this, then I'm going to fly home and sit in a hammock for a few days". Three have slight lung infections.

The 18-day ordeal riveted much of the world - from the very bad news that the 13 were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers almost 10 days later.

Wearing hospital masks and gowns, and waving to family members through protective glass, the freed Thai soccer players were finally able to have a reunion, of sorts. "The coach was the one to choose", he said.

They spent nine days in darkness until two British divers found them.

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Mr Volanthen also paid tribute to Thai navy rescue diver Saman Kunan, who died in the cave while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation. Authorities have promised to provide them legal assistance in the nationality verification process and if there were no complications in their documents all of them will have Thai nationality within six months.

"This area will become a living museum, to show how the operation unfolded", the head of rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference on Wednesday. Thailand's decision to dive the boys out despite their weak condition and lack of diving experience was made when a window of opportunity was provided by relatively mild weather.

Mr Stanton said the toughest part of the mission was bringing the boys back through the passage and admitted he was not certain they would succeed. Before their discovery, they survived by drinking water dripping into their cramped refuge.

"We just needed them to know how to breathe and not panic in the water", he said.

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