PH lauds Thailand for daring cave rescue of boys soccer team

The last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission

The miraculous rescue of 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand seems ready-made to be adapted into a Hollywood movie.

In the last 18 days, what began as a local search for the 12 missing boys and their coach turned into a complex rescue operation involving hundreds of experts who flew in from around the world to help.

But the mission, which leaned on the expertise of elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs, almost turned into a calamity.

"Suddenly the Australian guy who was overseeing that area started shouting that the water pump had stopped working", Chaiyananta told AFP.

The global bid to extract the team garnered attention from around the world after the team found themselves trapped on June 23 when they entered the cave after practice and were blocked by floodwaters.

It was barely days after the Wild Boars were rescued that a Thai cave rescue movie was announced to be in development.

Junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said the boys had been given a "minor tranquilliser" to prevent anxiety during the complex extraction bid.

"Craig and I have had a spotlight on our efforts and we want to make everyone realise that while we might have become the face of this rescue for some reason, everyone should know that the role we played was no more or less important than all the many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people I have mentioned", he said.

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The new video from the navy does not include footage of the divers in the water with the boys, but it does show a team of people using pulleys, string and rubber tubes to haul a green, kayak-shaped stretcher out of a tight crevice.

Peter Dennis, chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, said the operation was "one of the most extraordinary cave rescues we have seen". Saman's death, the only casualty in the operation, was widely mourned.

Schnauer said once all the boys were out of the cave, everyone was very happy but also keen to get out of the cave.

"There is a lot of responsibility, that is all I am prepared to say ..." And it would take more than two weeks before the whole group were rescued by a team of more than 100 global experts, including South Australian doctor Richard Harris.

"I've seen rescues in the past but this one seemed so complex and so hard and so harrowing", he told reporters in Adelaide.

The website of Harris' medical company based in Adelaide describes him as someone who combines a "taste for adventure with his medical practice and a lifelong interest in the underwater world".

The Australian doctor made the challenging swim through the extensive network of flooded tunnels to ensure the children - none of whom had any dive training - were physically up to the 1.7km trek out. "I was afraid that he might think I was going to blame him, so I sent a letter of comfort to him in hospital", said the abbot. "Initially we weren't certain they were all alive - as they were coming down I was counting them until I got to 13", he said.

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