Thai cave rescue: Father dies after hero doctor's successful mission

13 July, 2018, 00:19 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Richard Harris a doctor from South Australia swam into the cave to determine if the boys were fit enough to make their arduous journey out of the cave

Anderson said divers practised their rescue techniques in a swimming pool with local children about the same height and weight as the members of the Wild Boars football team trapped in the cave.

After nearly three weeks trapped in the dark, away from their loved ones in a cave in northern Thailand, the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were allowed to see their relatives in a carefully controlled environment, as doctors are still concerned about their health.

A screen grab shows boys rescued from the Thai cave wearing mask and resting in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand from a July 11, 2018 handout video. Some sat and made the "peace sign" gesture for the camera.

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"Everyone is strong in mind and heart", he said at a news conference of officials involved in the rescue.

Despite their mostly good health, all the boys need to be observed in the hospital for seven days and then rest at home for another 30 days. One of the boys lies on it covered in a metallic, reflective material.

Ekkapol Chantawong, or Ek as he is known, has come under scrutiny as the only adult in the group of 13 who got trapped in the cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai on June 23 during an expedition.

Australia's hero doctor and his dive partner say the successful rescue of a young Thai soccer team from a flooded cave system "is nearly beyond our imagination".

At U-Tapao civil-military airport in Rayong province, near where the Royal Thai Navy operates out of Sattahip Naval Base, Thai navy SEALs and some foreign military personnel were given a hero's' welcome when they touched down on Thursday.

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The rescue chief also revealed that the operation was speeded up because of falling oxygen levels within the cave complex, as well as expected downpours and possible rise of water levels.

"He really cares for the boys", he added, of a figure who is emerging as something of a hero for shepherding the children through their ordeal. "This mission was successful because of cooperation from everyone", he said.

But Mr Volanthen credited the global team of military, navy and civilian divers who all "pulled together". They forged deeper into the cave and found a dry, elevated slope where they remained stranded in total darkness for 10 days before rescuers located them.

"Hooyah! Mission accomplished", read one headline, echoing the rallying cry of the SEAL unit.

The hashtag #Hooyah was hugely popular on social media with people showing their support for the hundreds of rescuers, including divers from around the world, who helped to get the boys out. "The world will not forget his kindness and all he did to save those boys".

It went viral, earning more than 9,000 retweets in less than a day.

France were the first team to reach the final when they defeated Belgium on Wednesday morning AEST.

"Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely!"

He also acknowledged the loss of a former navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died last week while replenishing air tanks inside the cave.

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