'Everyone is safe' after daring rescue of 13 in Thai cave - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

'Everyone is safe' after daring rescue of 13 in Thai cave

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). One of two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). One of two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.
(AP Photo/Vincent Thian). An ambulance waiting for arrival of helicopter of the rescued boys from the flooded cave, in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian). An ambulance waiting for arrival of helicopter of the rescued boys from the flooded cave, in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.
(AP Photo/Vincent Thian). An emergency team believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian). An emergency team believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.
(AP Photo/Vincent Thian). People check their mobile phones for update while waiting at a military airbase during emergency helicopter evacuation in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian). People check their mobile phones for update while waiting at a military airbase during emergency helicopter evacuation in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.
  • 'Everyone is safe' after daring rescue of 13 in Thai caveMore>>

  • A day-by-day look at the Thailand cave ordeal

    A day-by-day look at the Thailand cave ordeal

    Tuesday, July 10 2018 8:06 AM EDT2018-07-10 12:06:44 GMT
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    (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave.
    A day-by-day look at the Thailand cave ordeal.
    A day-by-day look at the Thailand cave ordeal.
  • Finally free: Boys and coach rescued from Thai cave

    Finally free: Boys and coach rescued from Thai cave

    "Everyone is safe." With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand came to a close on Tuesday - a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide.

    "Everyone is safe." With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand came to a close on Tuesday - a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide.

  • The Latest: Medic, divers who stayed with boys leave cave

    The Latest: Medic, divers who stayed with boys leave cave

    Tuesday, July 10 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-07-10 05:21:18 GMT
    Tuesday, July 10 2018 4:06 PM EDT2018-07-10 20:06:09 GMT
    (Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP). This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Musk tweeted early Tuesday, July 10, 2018, he has visited the cave and has...(Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP). This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Musk tweeted early Tuesday, July 10, 2018, he has visited the cave and has...

    The Thai official overseeing the effort to rescue members of a teen soccer team trapped in a flooded cave says a third rescue operation aims to bring out the remaining four boys and their coach.

    The Thai official overseeing the effort to rescue members of a teen soccer team trapped in a flooded cave says a third rescue operation aims to bring out the remaining four boys and their coach.

  • Diver dies in Thailand cave rescue operation

    Diver dies in Thailand cave rescue operation

    Thursday, July 5 2018 11:01 PM EDT2018-07-06 03:01:02 GMT
    Jul 06, 2018 06:22 AM2018-07-07 01:35:22 GMT

    The soccer team has been trapped in the cave since June 23, after fierce rains raised the water level while they were inside.

    The soccer team has been trapped in the cave since June 23, after fierce rains raised the water level while they were inside.

By KAWEEWIT KAEWJINDA and STEPHEN WRIGHT
Associated Press

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) - "Everyone is safe." With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand was complete - a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide.

Thailand's Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, celebrated the feat with a post Tuesday evening that read: "All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave," - a reference to the boys' soccer team. "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what."

Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the final four boys and their coach were guided out of the cave. Their rescue was followed a few hours later by the safe return of a medic and three SEAL divers who had stayed for days with the boys in their cramped, dry refuge.

Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead. People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying them on the last leg of their journey from the cave arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai city in far northern Thailand near the Myanmar border.

Their joy and relief was echoed around the globe by the multitude of people who had followed the long ordeal.

Payap Maiming, who helped provide food and necessities to rescue workers and journalists, noted that fact.

"I'm happy for Thais all over the country," he said. "And actually just everyone in the world because every news channel has presented this story and this is what we have been waiting for."

"It's really a miracle," Payap said. "It's hope and faith that has brought us this success."

Amporn Sriwichai, an aunt of rescued coach Ekkapol Chantawong, was ecstatic. "If I see him, I just want to hug him and tell him that I missed him very much," she said.

The plight of the boys and their coach captivated much of the world - from the heart-sinking news that they were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers 10 days later. The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains soon filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in the three-day high-stakes operation. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team's air supply.

Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the canisters.

Cave-diving experts had warned diving the youngsters out was potentially too risky. But Thai officials, acutely aware the monsoon rains could trap the boys for months, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather. A massive effort to pump out water made the winding passageways more navigable. And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday.

"We did something nobody thought possible," Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, leader of the rescue effort, said at a celebratory news conference.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking Tuesday before the final rescue was completed, said the boys were given an anti-anxiety medication to help with their perilous removal from the cave.

Asked at a news conference in Bangkok if the boys had been sedated, Prayuth said: "Who would chloroform them? If they're chloroformed, how could they come out? It's called anxiolytic, something to make them not excited, not stressed."

Prayuth said the Tham Luang cave would be closed for some time to make it safe for visitors.

The first eight boys brought out were doing well and were in good spirits at the hospital. They received a treat on Tuesday: bread with chocolate spread that they had requested.

Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the boys rescued Sunday were able to eat normal food by Tuesday, though they couldn't yet take the spicy dishes favored by many Thais.

Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling," he said.

"The kids are footballers, so they have high immune systems," Jedsada told a news conference. "Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist evaluate them."

It could be at least a week before they can be released from the hospital, he said.

For now the boys were in isolation to try to keep them safe from infections by outsiders. But family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.

It was clear doctors were taking a cautious approach. Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."

If medical tests show no dangers after another two days, parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing, staying 2 meters (yards) away from the boys, said another public health official, Tosthep Bunthong.

John Tangkitcharoenthawon, a local village chairman, was bursting with happiness over the successful rescue.

"If this place had a roof, the morale has gone straight through it," he said.

President Donald Trump joined those paying tribute to the rescuers.

"On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand," he tweeted. "Such a beautiful moment - all freed, great job!"

One of soccer's most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season.

A message posted on the English Premier League club's Twitter account said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season."

The international soccer federation, FIFA, had already invited the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia this Sunday. However, doctors treating the boys said it was too soon for them to make the trip.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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