Thai cave rescue: All 12 boys and soccer coach freed

Thailand Ministry of Public Health

They'll also be bringing back 3 Navy SEALS and a medic who have been in the cave with the team since the first day of the rescue efforts.

A helicopter delivered the boys and their coach to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai, the closest city to the cave complex, where the 12 boys and their coach were reunited on a dedicated floor.

Osatanakorn stepped down as the governor of Chiang Rai during the rescue operation, but remained its commander.

The drama in Thailand has even resonated as far as Russian Federation, where soccer's World Cup is reaching its final stages.

It had been suggested the boys, members of the Wild Boars Football Club, could be invited to watch the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

The astonishing story has gripped Thailand and the world since the group was discovered trapped alive by two British cave divers on July 2, nine days after disappearing while exploring the Tham Luang cave system.

Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said Wednesday the 12 boys and coach rescued over the three previous days "took care of themselves well in the cave".

However, ex-Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died during the rescue effort.

Despite all the risks associated with the rescue, she says she never had any doubt that the boys would all make it out.

Gazza's message for Southgate and his England squad
It's wonderful because I was one of those kids growing up who wanted to play for England. "I would just walk out of the room, it is an anthem and has followed the team for a long time but involved some hard moments as well".

Dutch media rejoiced on Tuesday afternoon as a Thai children's football team and their coach were all safely rescued from a flooded cave complex in Northern Thailand. The boys who were initially rescued asked for basil fried rice, but doctors are instead feeding them soft foods like Congee, a Chinese rice porridge. To ensure they wouldn't panic, crews reportedly gave the boys anti-anxiety medication while their coach taught them meditation practices.

There are still many police and soldiers around but the divers - of whom there were more than a 100 at peak time - have all gone, presumably to finally get some rest.

This mini-submarine may not sound like the most practical or comfortable way to escape a flooded cave, but it's important to note that the trapped kids were not able to swim and had become weak from malnutrition and exhaustion, and none of them had any scuba diving experience, CNN reported.

"The kids are footballers, so they have high immune systems", Jedsada told a news conference.

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.

"We believe this simple gesture can help these faces recover the joy and smiles that no child should ever lose", Vieira said in the letter.

They joined their teammates in quarantine there and will remain in hospital.

One of soccer's most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season.

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