Thai cave rescue: Boys, coach start road to recovery after dramatic ordeal

Coach Ekkapol Chantawong has fought malnutrition and exhaustion to keep caring for his beloved Wild Boar boys soccer team

The death highlighted the risks and dangers involved in the mission to save the group. That's where British divers found them days later, alive and in relatively good health.

Three members of the SEAL unit and an army doctor, who has stayed with the boys since they were found, were the last people due to come out of the cave, the unit said.

Rescue crews ready themselves to go back into the cave. Officials said the first mission lasted about 11 hours, while the second mission was two hours faster.

"They are not only the kids of Chiang Rai or the kids of Thailand", she said in English.

President Donald Trump is congratulating the Thai navy SEALs and their worldwide partners who rescued a youth soccer team and their coach after more than two weeks of entrapment in a cave.

The freed children are all now recovering in hospital and were earlier reported to be in a stable condition. However, it can not be spread between humans.

The eight boys rescued after being trapped for more than two weeks were described as generally healthy.

Some of the boys had reportedly explored the cave system in the past, while some knew the system well, but became stuck after a flash flood trapped them deep inside the cave. "We're here witnessing the events and gathering some contact information to really tell a story about the entire world coming together to save 13 kids trapped in a cave on the Chinese border".

The footballers still awaiting rescue are about another two kilometres further in, at a point very hard to access.

Football's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday. The hospital has sent test samples from the boys to a lab in Bangkok.

Divers, engineers, medics and others have flown in from around the world to assist.

A group of men who had been helping pump water out of the cave for the past two weeks share a meal at a restaurant in Chiang Rai while watching news of the third and final rescue.

"Mini-sub is ready if needed".

Thought their harrowing ordeal scored them an invitation from Federation Internationale de Football Association to attend the World Cup final in Russia, the rescued Wild Boars soccer team will not be able to attend the match. He said he left the equipment there in case rescuers could use it in the future. In footage captured by the BBC, families of the boys were seen hugging in front of television screens in their homes, as residents in the nearby city of Chiang Rai lined the streets, clapping and taking videos of the ambulances carrying the last few boys to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital.

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