Divers in northern Thailand have rescued 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves, 17 days after they got trapped underground. The plight of the group and the dangerous work to free them has gripped the world’s attention. The first of the boys were brought out on Sunday but the last of the group were only freed on Tuesday evening. They had got stuck deep inside the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding and cut off their route out.
Aged between about 11 and 17, the members of the Wild Boars football team had entered the cave system in the province of Chiang Rai during an excursion with their coach. After they were found by British divers last week, huddled in darkness on a ledge and cut off from the outside world for nine days, the race began to get them out before the weather deteriorated even further. The first eight boys to be rescued, on Sunday and Monday, are still in hospital but said to be in good mental and physical health.
They have undergone X-rays and blood tests, and will remain under observation in hospital for at least seven days. Confirming the completion of the rescue operation, the Thai Navy Seals Facebook page announced: “All 12 Wild Boars and coach have been extracted from the cave. All are safe.”