Update: First footage released of the rescued teen soccer team recovering in hospital
The Thai boys who were trapped in a cave are safe and sound and recovering from their ordeal. First photos have been released.
A team of young Thai football players and their coach who were trapped by rising water in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex since the 23rd of June 2018 are finally free, and a video detailing the operation has been posted on Youtube.
The boys, aged between 11 and 17, and their coach were isolated, and the treacherous conditions of the strong water currents made an attempt to escape hazardous.
They had been missing for a week when they were discovered by a team of British divers on Monday, prompting an urgent rescue operation. Read the latest updates on the Thai rescue on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.
"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. There was only a tiny bit of hope, but that's all we had to work with."
Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew, Youtube,10th of July 2018
They had survived the nine days before they were found by drinking water dripping from the cave walls. Since none of the boys could swim, and exit from the cave involved traversing a long underwater passage, they were each strapped to a rescue diver.
To prevent panic attacks in the frightened boys, they were sedated before being taken by the divers through the dark, narrow, underwater passageways.
The men who rescued them were four Thai Navy Seals who risked their lives time after time to bring out the boys and their coach. The boys were taken straight to the hospital for treatment and observation, and seem to be recovering well from their ordeal.
The video shows the boys happily waving and making victory signs. Throughout their isolation in the cave, they were accompanied by Australian Doctor Richard 'Harry' Harris.
Harris had been on holiday in Thailand and immediately offered his assistance, entering the cave and remaining with the boys until they were rescued.
It was Harris who evaluated the boy's health and had the weakest boys brought out of the cave first. He was the last of the rescue team to come out of the cave.
The boys lost weight during their ordeal since they subsisted on snacks rationed by their coach, and will remain in the hospital for a week, followed by a week's recuperation at home.
The most debilitated of the group is assistant coach Ekapol Chantawong, 25, as he had refused to eat any of the food and gave all to the boys. Sergeant Major Saman Gunan, a Thai Navy seal, died during the rescue mission.
The boys are now eating normally, and they will be released from the hospital and reunited with their anxious families. The boys and their families will most likely be closely monitored in case the ordeal results in psychological trauma and PTSD.