First images emerge of boys rescued from Thailand cave

A board showing

First images emerge of boys rescued from Thailand cave

But Thai authorities have been coy on how a group of boys, many of whom could not swim and none with diving experience, could have navigated the treacherous narrow and submerged passageways of the Tham Luang complex, even with expert diving support. The children were well taken care of in the cave.

The group ventured into the vast cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after soccer practice on June 23 and were trapped when a rainy season downpour flooded tunnels.

He said the children hadn't eaten any food in the nine days before they were found, and drank murky water from inside the cave, which saved them.

The Thai government released video of the boys as they recover.

Messages were sent to the Thai boys following the Thai cave rescue.

"My job was to transfer them along", he said, adding the "boys were wrapped up in stretchers already when they were being transferred" and were monitored at regular intervals by doctors posted along the kilometres-long escape route. That's good news for the boys who had said they were looking forward to fried rice with basil.

The boys seem to be going through progressive stages once they reach the hospital.

But he had denied they were knocked out for an operation the chief of the rescue had dubbed "mission impossible".

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Before the mission got underway on Sunday, rescue workers warned it would be a delicate operation.

Derek Anderson, a 32-year-old rescue specialist with the US Air Force based in Okinawa, Japan, said the dozen boys and their coach were "incredibly resilient".

Chaiwetch Thanapaisal is director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

The exact mechanics of the rescue bid were closely guarded during the operation, but details have since dribbled out.

The saga is reminiscent of the 2010 rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days, a tale that was turned into the 2015 movie "The 33" starring Antonio Banderas.

The team became captured within a cave in Thailand on June 23 and survived for 18 long days before being miraculously rescued by a fearless group of global divers. They were carried by stretcher in the compartments that hadn't flooded.

Questions will remain as to why the team, led by their 25-year-old coach, went into the caves during the rainy season - it is common knowledge that it is a unsafe time to enter, and signs at the entrance specifically warn of the dangers of monsoon rains.

The story of the Thai boys lost and found and finally rescued has all the makings of a Hollywood drama, capped with a happy outcome, and film companies are scrambling to buy their story. "They have to help each other". They wave to the camera, give the peace sign and press their hands together in prayer to show gratitude.

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