A daring rescue mission in the treacherous confines of a flooded Thai cave saved all 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped deep within the labyrinth — ending a grueling, 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced volunteer diver and riveted people around the world.
Thailand’s Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, said on their Facebook page that the remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were all brought out safely Tuesday. Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday.
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the SEALs said, referring to the name of the boys’ soccer team. “Everyone is safe.”
Medic, 3 SEALs emerge from cave
The leader of the Thailand cave rescue says a medic and three SEALs who stayed with the boys in their dark refuge are now out of the cave.
Earlier, cheers erupted at a local government office where dozens of volunteers and journalists were awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded.
People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying the boys arrived at the hospital in Chiang Rai city.
Onlookers watch and cheer as ambulances transport some of the rescued schoolboys from a helipad to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital on July 10, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Payap Maiming, 40, who helped provide food and necessities to rescue workers and journalists, said a “miracle” had happened.
“I’m happy for Thais all over the country, for the people of Mae Sai, and actually just everyone in the world because every news channel has presented this story and this is what we have been waiting for,” she said.
Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said Tuesday that the members of the soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand had been given anti-anxiety medication before they were brought out.
There had been speculation that the boys could be tranquilized during their treacherous journeys out of the cave. As none one of them had any diving experience and most couldn’t swim, officials feared they could panic.
Speaking after a weekly Cabinet meeting in Bangkok, the prime minister denied that the young soccer players were tranquilized before being rescued, but he did say that they were given an anxiolytic to relieve anxiety.
“Who would chloroform them? If they’re chloroformed, how could they come out? It’s called anxiolytic something to make them not excited, not stressed,” the prime minister said.
Trump congratulates Thailand cave rescuers
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday congratulated rescuers who saved a Thai soccer team that had been trapped in a cave amid rising floodwaters.
“On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
“Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!”
The last young members of the Wild Boars soccer team have been rescued from the sprawling cave complex in northern Thailand where they were trapped for more than a week, Thai navy SEALS confirmed Tuesday.
The 12th member of the team was brought out of the cave complex on a stretcher only about eight hours after officials announced Tuesday’s 3rd phase of the rescue operation. The 25-year-old assistant coach was the last out.
The conditions of the boys pulled out of the cave on Tuesday, and their coach, remain unclear, but officials have said the eight previously rescued are in relatively good health and at a hospital in Chiang Rai.
Only a doctor and three Thai navy SEALS who helped with the rescue effort will still need to get out safely before the operation is wrapped up.