Thai Soccer Players Wave in First Hospital Footage Since Dramatic Cave Rescue

Acting governor of Chiang Rai Narongsak Osatanakorn led the operation

The complex operation involved numerous divers - both foreign and Thai - using pulleys, ropes and rubber piping to haul members of the soccer team to safety.

Global rescue teams had worked around the clock after the boys were discovered by British divers, to try to drain the caves enough to rescue them.

The Journal noted that the story of the boys' entrapment and rescue will likely be retold in other media like TV and books in the coming months.

Eight boys were evacuated between Sunday and Monday, while four boys and their coach were removed on Tuesday.

Hospital director Chaiwetch Thanapaisal told a news conference that the boys would have to stay in hospital for up to 10 days.

The group were taken out in three batches by a team of 13 worldwide divers flanked by the Thai Navy SEALs, who greeted each successful rescue with a "Hooyah" on their Facebook page.

Members of the Thai boy's soccer team rescued from a flooded cave wave at cameras in an image made from video released July 11, 2018, by the hospital in Chiang Rai where they were recovering.

"I started to cry, everybody started to cry", he said.


Thailand's navy SEALs, who played a central part in the rescue effort, wrote on their Facebook page: "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what". Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL volunteering to work on the rescue died Friday while replenishing oxygen canisters placed along the escape route.

The children aged from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, ventured into the cave in Thailand's mountainous north on June 23 after football practice and got trapped when heavy rains caused flooding that forced them to take shelter on a muddy ledge.

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

He added that everyone worked together without concerns about race or religion, as the goal was to save the young football team. And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday.

Police officers took photographs of each other at the massive cave entrance, as pumps continued to suck out huge volumes of water.

Most of the boys rescued from inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand lost an average of 2 kilograms (4 pounds) during their ordeal, but were generally in good condition, a senior health official said on Wednesday.

"Our operation was more successful than we expected", Narongsak said at a press briefing. They survived the nine days before they were found by drinking water dripping from the cave walls, officials said.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha thanked people involved in the rescue in a televised address on Wednesday and said the mission had succeeded because of government efforts, the assistance of people within and outside Thailand and an outpouring of moral support.

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