Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

All 12 boys and coach safe after Thailand cave rescue

All 12 boys and coach safe after Thailand cave rescue

A twelfth person was rescued on Tuesday from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, a Reuters witness said, apparently leaving just one more to be brought out to safety.

Dutch media rejoiced on Tuesday afternoon as a Thai children's football team and their coach were all safely rescued from a flooded cave complex in Northern Thailand. According to NBC News, the twelve boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year old coach entered the caves two weeks ago but were trapped after rain caused flooding.

The divers and medic, whose names were not immediately released, were all healthy after making the arduous journey out of the underground maze from the chamber almost 3 miles deep where they helped the once wayward group and kept them calm as plans to extract them were being hatched, officials said.

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. One diver said in a Facebook post that he had spent 63 hours in the cave system over the past nine days.

Underscoring the danger behind the mission, Ivan Karadzic said, "They are diving in something considered an extremely hazardous environment". The phrase, a battle cheer that the elite SEAL unit adopted from the U.S. Navy, has become an global hashtag used by people to show their support and gratitude to those involved in the rescue mission.

Here is how what the rescue chief called "Mission Impossible" unfolded over 72 hours as Thailand and much of the world anxiously awaited news of the boys' fate. With little to no experience swimming or breathing under water, divers were somehow able to successfully lead them out of the cave complex in a delicate operation that saw the boys and the coach tethered to divers.

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On the Twitter-like Sina Weibo site, the hashtag "Thai boys football team rescued" ranked 39th on Tuesday night in China. A second mission, which rescued another four boys, commenced on Monday, July 9.

1 NEWS' Correspondent Kimberlee Downs has the latest from Chiang Rai, Thailand.

President Trump tweeted his congratulations, describing the emergence of the last four boys and their coach as "such a lovely moment". The rescued boys are now in the hospital receiving treatment. "Congratulations to an outstanding rescue team!" he tweeted Tuesday morning.

Rescue officials are seen near Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, Sunday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected".

They are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars.

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