Boys Rescued from Thai Cave in Good Health

Linh Pham  Getty Images The last rescued schoolboys and their coach arrives to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital

Linh Pham Getty Images The last rescued schoolboys and their coach arrives to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital

Journalists celebrate after a news conference near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Their rescue was particularly treacherous because the boys, aged 11 to 16, had to swim through tight spaces despite having no previous diving experience.

The team's morale was hit when a former Thai Navy SEAL, Samarn Kunan, 38, died while helping lay out oxygen tanks underground. "Thank you so much to everyone that has been praying for us and the boys and helping us; thank you".

They were cut off on June 23 after heavy rains flooded the cave complex. And then the miracle: they got out.

"My job was to transfer them along", he said, adding the "boys were wrapped up in stretchers already when they were being transferred" and were monitored at regular intervals by doctors posted along the kilometres-long escape route.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days.

It also involved about 90 divers in all, 50 of them from overseas, as well as medics, ambulance drivers, and helicopter pilots to take the boys straight to hospital in the town of Chiang Rai.

But he had denied they were knocked out for an operation the chief of the rescue had dubbed "mission impossible".

In the cavern, one-by-one, the boys were fitted with 5mm-thick wetsuits and full-face scuba masks.

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Described in a South Australia Ambulance Service statement as a "quiet and kind man" who "didn't think twice about offering his support on this mission" Harry, as he is known, was lauded for his work in throughout the rescue period.

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The extensive search-and-rescue operation, which included more than 1,000 people from various nations, has now switched to a treatment process.

"We had a little bit of hope that they might still be alive but we had to do it, we just had to move forward", Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew said.

A Google search on Tuesday for the words "Thai cave rescue" revealed 359 million results.

The most unsafe part of the journey out of the labyrinthine cave system was the first kilometer, during which they were required to squeeze through a narrow flooded channel.

"I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!"

"They are the ones who were responsible for their own morale and really their own safety and without them being in the state they were in we couldn't have done anything".

Questions will remain as to why the team, led by their 25-year-old coach, went into the caves during the rainy season - it is common knowledge that it is a risky time to enter, and signs at the entrance specifically warn of the dangers of monsoon rains.

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