They spent 17 days trapped inside a small chamber of an ancient cave in Thailand, much of which was without any food or water, before finally being rescued in a worldwide effort this week.
Now, incredible new footage has captured a first look inside the opening chamber of the huge Tham Luang cave, as Sunrise reporter Chris Reason was allowed access inside – hours after Elon Musk made his own venture through the shallow waters to the opening of the narrow tunnel.
Rescuers have managed to successfully save all 13 members of the Wild Boar soccer team following their 17-day ordeal, in a story that has captured the attention of the world.
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.
After the last child was safely removed from the chamber, a few reporters were allowed access inside, with Reason filming first-hand footage of the cavernous entrance and lit-up tunnel. He wrote: “Well here it is… we’ve visited the Tham Luang cave where the boys and their coach were trapped for 17 days.”
Meanwhile, Musk caught his own photos inside, with one clearer image showing giant rock features all lit up following the monumental rescue mission. He wrote: “Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful.”
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”.