A miracle has occurred in Thailand, with rescuers successfully saving all 13 members of the Wild Boar soccer team who became trapped in the Tham Luang Cave. In a story that has captured the attention of the world, the last remaining boys and their coach were rescued and freed after a 17-day ordeal.
The last child emerged on Tuesday at around 6pm local time (9pm AEST), according to Newscorp. In total, 19 divers assisted in the rescue of the final five members of the group, said to be the one of the toughest rescue operations to date. It is believed the youngest child, aged 11, was one of the last to be freed, although it was the boys’ 25-year-old coach who was the last to be rescued.
The boys were transported by ambulance and helicopter to a hospital in the Thailand province of Chiang Rai, where they will receive medical attention and join their teammates who were previously rescued.
The Thai Navy SEAL shared an update on Facebook shortly after the rescue that loosely translates to “12 wild pigs and coaches out of the cave. Everyone safe”.
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” a further message read.
It also confirmed that four Thai Navy SEALs who were involved in the rescue also made it to safety. At the scene, rescue commander Narongsak Osottanakorn reportedly said it was “mission complete” during a press release, while assuring the world the boys and rescuers were safe.
He also explained that parents of the boys would be reunited with their children in hospital, although it would be through glass windows as the children are in quarantine. He also paid his respects to military diver Saman Gunan, who died during a rescue effort last week.
The boys in the team were aged between 11 and 16, while their coach was 25. It is believed the team became trapped four kilometres in the cave after heading in as a rite of passage. The team initially set off for their adventure on June 23 and an international rescue mission began on July 2 – more than a week after they vanished. Flash floods had made it nearly impossible for the team to escape the cave.
MISSION COMPLETED: Such an incredible feeling to finally be able to confirm that 12 boys, coach from Thailand's Wild Boar Academy football team have safely come out of #ThamLuang cave complex after being trapped inside for 17 days. Welcome home! 🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗 pic.twitter.com/YTa0yWNepK
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 10, 2018
People around the world have shared their happiness about the outcome of the rescue on social media.
One reporter on the scene wrote: “An impressive feat of International cooperation, professionalism and dedication. All 12 boys and their football coach have been brought safely out of # Thamluangcave. Just amazing! How rare to have such uplifting news. Hoping to hear Thai divers who stayed with them are also out”.
Another message read: “I have huge respect for the Thai authorities in the way they have protected the boys following their rescue. No cameras. No names. No media parade. A lesson for the rest of the world”.
A third added: “Very happy the rescue was a success. Cave diving is one of the most challenging activities humans can undertake- for the boys to do it without panicking is stunning. Hats off to the rescuers and the kids”.