Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

Cheryl Sanders
July 13, 2018

The Thai boys remain in quarantine for several days as they recover, and the hospital that's treating them has released video showing the boys in high spirits.

The Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex in Thailand - where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for 18 days - will become a "living museum" to showcase the harrowing ordeal that unfolded in recent weeks as the world watched.

But Mr Volanthen, an IT consultant from Bristol who is a volunteer cave diver, said they were simply doing a job, adding: "It's not like that - if you could do the same for someone else's child, you would".

They were lost for nine days before British rescue divers discovered them on July 2, sitting on a ledge in a half-flooded chamber.

The team's morale was hit when a former Thai Navy SEAL, Samarn Kunan, 38, died while helping lay out oxygen tanks underground.

Junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said the boys had been given a "minor tranquilliser" to prevent anxiety during the complex extraction bid.

Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a health department inspector, earlier told reporters one from the last group rescued on Tuesday had a lung infection and they were all given vaccinations for rabies and tetanus.

Flanked by other members of the dive rescue team, Mr Stanton was asked about his emotions when the boys were found and replied: "Initially, of course, excitement".

Water pumps failed hours after the last boy was saved, sending rescue workers scrambling out for safety. "In our country, you have so many friends". They slept close together for warmth and took turns digging in the cave to try and redirect the water that had trapped them. "This mission was successful because of cooperation from everyone", he said. There have been reports that the boys had been sedated, though officials said only that some had been given medicine to calm their nerves. But as a whole, "everybody is doing well", Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, told reporters at Wednesday's news conference.

The saga of the "Wild Boars" gripped the world, with the lives of the group hanging in the balance as the threat of heavy rain injected urgency to an already perilous extraction bid.

The exact mechanics of the rescue bid were closely guarded during the operation, but details have since dribbled out.

"They just sat quietly without doing anything because it was dark", said Banpot, recounting what his son, who is still in hospital, had told him.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday the operation was nothing short of a miracle. Officials initially anxious they could remain trapped for months.

"Our thanks and greatest admiration go the British lead divers, and support divers along the route in and out of the cave system from the EU, US, China and Australia, as well as the vast number of participants from military and civilian organisations in various support roles", the statement continued.

That sign off quickly turned into a hashtag shared across social media, where luminaries of business, politics and sport extended their best wishes to the team and the rescuers.

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