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All 12 boys and coach safe after Thailand cave rescue

All 12 boys trapped underground in Thailand have been rescued following the “largest, most complex cave rescue in history”.

Eight boys had been brought out in two expeditions on Sunday and Monday, leaving a further four and their football coach to make the perilous journey back to the entrance on Tuesday.

Just before 1pm UK time, it was announced that all 12 boys and their coach were safe.

“We did something nobody thought possible,” the acting governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said once the 18-day ordeal was over.

“I am so happy, I may not be able to thank everyone,” the man who led the operation added.

:: Thailand cave rescue: Country celebrates return of its children

An ambulance carrying rescued schoolboys leaves from Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
An ambulance leaves from Tham Luang cave complex on Tuesday

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.”

Payap Maiming, who helped provide food and necessities for rescue workers and journalists, was not in doubt, however.

“It’s really a miracle,” she said. “It’s hope and faith that has brought us this success.”

:: Thailand cave: How the rescue operation unfolded

Acting governor of Chiang Rai, Narongsak Osatanakorn, led the operation
Acting governor of Chiang Rai, Narongsak Osatanakorn, led the operation

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach are now being assessed in hospital.

There are concerns they may have consumed contaminated water, while bird or bat droppings could cause infections.

The four boys rescued first are “well, they’re up and about”, Sky News’ southeast Asia correspondent, Siobhan Robbins, said.

Thailand cave rescue


The perilous route out of the Thai cave

But two boys had “suspected lung problems which are being investigated,” she added.

The group is “going to be kept in isolation for the next few days – possibly a week”, she said.

While their parents have been able to visit them, they have been kept separate “through the glass because doctors are concerned”.

Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, said the boys were given anti-anxiety medication to help with their rescue.

Four Thai navy SEALs give a thumbs up as they leave the cave
Four Thai navy SEALs give a thumbs up as they leave the cave

Cave diver Martyn Farr told Sky News that British divers, who located the trapped group, are the “very best divers in this field in the UK, if not the world”.

The conditions in Thailand were “extreme”, he said, adding: “If any people could execute this rescue successfully, it was our team of British divers.

“This has been a full blown international call out and leading divers from all over the world have been involved.

“This has been the largest, most complex cave rescue in history.”

President Trump tweeted his congratulations, describing the emergence of the last four boys and their coach as “such a beautiful moment”.

Theresa May said the “world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved”.

More from Thailand Cave Rescue

The Tham Luang cave system will now be closed for some time, prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said.

He has also pledged to increase security to make it safer, with a view to developing it into a tourist destination following its worldwide exposure.

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