Cave rescue diver hails 'incredibly strong' boys

Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Jubilation over the rescue was tinged with sadness over the loss of a former Thai navy diver volunteer Saman Gunan, 38, who died on Friday when he ran out of air on his return journey from delivering oxygen tanks to the cave.

The boys of the Wild Boar football team were brought out in three daring rescue operations starting on Sunday morning.

Rescue workers wearing protection suits wait for some of the rescued schoolboys at military airport in Chiang Rai on Monday.

The boys won't attend the World Cup final.

They spent nine harrowing days trapped 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.

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

Responding to a media report of the incident, Mr Musk said it was not accurate to describe Mr Osatanakorn as the rescue chief and that he was "not the subject matter expert".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop praised the "extraordinary efforts" of 20 Australians directly involved in the remarkable rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach.

Now that the boys and their coach are out, medical experts are now focusing on their mental and physical fitness. They were unable to go further because their gear was too large: going beyond chamber three required passing through a hole less than a metre wide.

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.

The 12 boys, who wore diving cylinders and were each tethered to an adult diver, had to submerge themselves for much of the journey but were carried on bright red Sked stretchers whenever they entered patches of dry ground.

According to AFP, amid the continuously lowering oxygen levels and monsoon rains threatening to flood the cave above the ledge, rescuers made a decision to opt for the least-worst option of having divers escort them through the tunnels.

They have warned that drinking contaminated water during the 17-day-long ordeal or otherwise being exposed to bird or bat droppings in the cave could to lead to severe infections. They're under quarantine because of risk of infection.

The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday were in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said earlier.

Instead, their team of physicians will likely take the approach health care providers working for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) overseas and even Chuang takes with her patients in Philadelphia: "Start low and go slow".

He confirmed that three navy SEALs and a doctor who had been with the boys inside the cave also emerged safely.

"Australia has played an integral role in this unprecedented operation".

Tragedy has struck the Australian doctor at the heart of the rescue of a young Thai soccer team with the death of his father, soon after his mission was completed.

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