All 12 Boys And Their Coach Rescued From Thai Cave

All 12 Boys And Coach Rescued From Thai Cave After 18-Day Ordeal

Image via CBS/YouTube

The last boy and his coach were rescued from the Thai cave this morning

A terrifying nearly three-week ordeal that ended with a nail-biting rescue operation in a Thai cave has finally come to a happy end. The 12 members of Thailand’s Wild Boars soccer team, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach have all emerged after being trapped in a flooded cave. The harrowing rescue effort that began as a search for the missing 13 involved hundreds of experts from all over the globe who flew in to help the children and their coach.

The boys were rescued a few at a time with the final child and his coach extricated from the cave this morning, joining the other 11 boys who had already gotten out over a period of three days. The Thai Navy SEALS took to Facebook moments ago to announce the happy news.

Over the last 18 days, the world has been captivated by the story of the team and their coach, trapped in the cave after rising flood waters closed off the exit. Experts struggled to solve the problem of saving the group of kids, several of whom couldn’t swim and many who were malnourished after days of not eating. To make matters worse, according to CNN, monsoon rains threatened to make the flooded cavern water levels rise even further, threatening the success of the mission.

Two boys rescued today are still being treated for injuries on-site while the other 10 are in a nearby hospital working toward recovery after being rescued on Sunday and Monday. The eight boys rescued Sunday and Monday (two in the hospital just got out of the cave today) reportedly “seem to be in high spirits” with medical officials saying they’re all fever-free and healthy. All of the hospitalized kids are in isolation for now until it’s certain they’re free of infection. Four boys’ families have been able to see their sons through a glass window and were allowed to talk to them on the phone. Once the kids are proven to be infection-free, they’ll be allowed visitors.

As the rescue played out, the divers involved described a very risky mission. Narongsuk Keasub, a diver for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, said “This is the hardest mission we’ve ever done. The lower the water is getting, the stronger the current. It’s stronger now. Every step of the extraction is risky.”

Image via YE AUNG THU / AFP) (Photo credit should read YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Sadly, a former Thai SEAL died last Friday from lack of air while bringing oxygen tanks to the cave. It just goes to prove how completely dangerous and scary it is to have these kids, some of them non-swimmers, make the hours-long journey through narrow channels and murky water. The boys were taught only days before being rescued how to use scuba gear by experts who came into the cave to help. The fact that they all came out safely is nothing short of a miracle.

There are still some SEAL divers and a doctor in the cave and they’re expected to emerge shortly — they spent the last week with the team and their coach. Their heroic efforts won’t soon be forgotten by the world and the families of the trapped kids, many of whom kept vigil outside the cave throughout the ordeal.