Mission Accomplished! Thai youth football team, coach brought to safety from cave

Jul 11, 2018, 11:17 IST | Agencies

Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, today afternoon via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels

Mission Accomplished! Thai youth football team, coach brought to safety from cave

The final five members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave yesterday after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world.

Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, today afternoon via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels. "All 12 'Wild Boars' and coach have been extracted from the cave," the SEALs said, referring to the boys by the name of their football team.

Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys. Pics/AP
Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys. Pics/AP

"All are safe," they added, signing off with what has become their trademark "Hooyah" that they used to celebrate the successful extractions of the other eight boys over the previous two days.

The boys, aged from 11 to 16, and their coach, ventured into the Tham Luang cave in mountainous northern Thailand on June 23 after football practice and got trapped when heavy rains caused flooding forcing to take shelter on a muddy ledge.

They spent nine days in darkness until two British divers found them, looking gaunt but otherwise offering smiles to the divers and appearing to be in remarkably good spirits. The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen underscored the dangers of the escape route.

The ups and downs of the rescue bid entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing support from celebrities as varied as US President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk. British Prime Minister Theresa May was one of the first leaders to celebrate the success, and pay tribute to the divers who risked their own lives to save the boys.

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