UPDATE @ July 11, 6.30 AM | There have been scenes of jubilation across the world, as prayers of millions were answered with the safe rescue of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand.
The 12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach had spent 18-days underground, including the first ten days when they didn’t know if anyone was coming for them.
But they did.
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A major international rescue operation to free the boys began on July 8, with the first four safely rescued after a painstaking 11 hour operation.
The rescue mission was then put on hold as crews refilled their air tanks with oxygen and regrouped before heading back into the black passageways filled with cold and rushing muddy waters.
On day two of the operation, a further four boys were brought out one-by-one with divers, and on the third and final rescue mission, the last of the four boys and their coach were freed.
Thailand’s navy seals confirmed the amazing news on their Facebook page, writing: “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 post has so far received more than 422,000 likes and thousands of comments.
“Congratulations to all Thai NavySEALs, international divers and support teams. You guys are amazing. BRILLIANT united effort. Humanity at it’s absolute best!” one person commented.
“So happy for this news, still crying with relief for you all,” wrote another.
The whole team have now been placed into quarantine in their hospital ward due to fear of infections like ‘cave disease’, however they are all “safe and conscious,” officials confirmed.
The youngsters went missing while exploring the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice on June 23.
Today, we witnessed hope. Faith. Courage. Dedication.
12 boys. Their coach. 18 days. Rescuers who gave it all and never gave up. The Wild Boars never gave up.
— Jenn S. (@VTDiva01) July 10, 2018
As celebrations continue for the boys, the world is also remembering the heroic diver who died during the rescue operation, former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan.
The 38-year-old lost his life whilst delivering oxygen into the cave on July 6.
“As we celebrate the news that all 12 boys and their coach have been rescued from the Thai cave… Let’s remember and send prays to the family of the brave Thai #NavySEAL Diver Saman Kunan who lost his life bringing oxygen to the boys,” one twitter user wrote.
Honor and respect for his braveheart, a former Thai Navy Seal-Saman Kunan. You’re a true inspiration and a real definition of a hero. I know you’re smiling from above the sky seeing all 13 are saved. Rest well our hero 🙏🏻#พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ThaiCaveRecue #Hooyah #WildBoars pic.twitter.com/jX1Qydc81C
— vodka latte (@etern0lsunshine) July 10, 2018
Additional reporting by Shanee Dobeson.
EARLIER @ July 10, 4 PM | Eight boys who have been rescued from a cave in northern Thailand are said to be ‘generally healthy’ and in ‘high spirits’ following their ordeal.
Four boys were rescued on Sunday night, with another four brought out of the cave on Monday night.
Health officials say the boys who were brought out on Sunday night are aged 12 to 16 and are now able to eat normal food again.
Two of them are showing signs of minor lung infections but are “healthy and smiling.”
The group of boys who were rescued on Monday night are aged 12 to 14.
Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, Deputy Director-General of the Public Health Ministry told a media conference the boys were expected to remain in hospital for at least seven days.
“The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems,” Jesada said.
“Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out, but we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them.”
The boys’ parents have been allowed to see them, but only through a glass screen and have not been allowed to hug them.
Officials say they are taking a cautious approach to their recovery because they don’t know what type of infections the boys may have.
It comes the mission to rescue the remaining four boys and their coach resumed on Tuesday afternoon.
Divers entered the cave around 11am local time (2pm AEST).
Officials say that if conditions remain the same, they plan to bring all five out tonight.