Thailand football team won't attend World Cup final

Acting governor of Chiang Rai Narongsak Osatanakorn led the operation

Each member of the Wild Boars football team and their coach have been rescued after spending 17 days stuck in a complex cave system. He praised the cooperation between Thai and global rescuers.

None of the 12 boys had ever been diving and some did not know how to swim.

Former Navy seal Chaiyananta Peeranarong told AFP news agency: "Some of them were asleep, and some of them were wiggling their fingers, kind of groggy - but they were breathing".

Divers who took part in the operation said the boys were heavily sedated to avoid anxiety as they went through the dark, narrow, underwater passageways.

He did not say if the coach, the only adult with the boys for nine days before they found, was able to dive and walk out unaided.

The clearest images yet of the murky waters show divers using pulleys, ropes and rubber piping to haul members of the football team to safety.

The complex mission for the rescuers from Thailand, the US, Britain, Australia and other countries to guide the boys and coach through the cave's flooded passageways riveted people worldwide.

Three hours after the final five were rescued, pumping machinery failed and the water level rose dramatically.

"As you can imagine from what's been in the media all week it is not a holiday that Harry has been on", Pearce said.

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The rescue mission which spanned days was a success after everyone was rescued. Thai doctors said the boys each lost about 2 kilograms, or roughly 4.5 pounds, from the ordeal.

The four boys and soccer coach brought out Wednesday on the final day of an all-out three-day push to save all of them had recovered more quickly than the boys rescued on Monday and Tuesday, Chaiwetch said.

Adul's proficiency in English has definitely helped tremendously in this operation, and apparently the schools where the Wild Boars members are studying at have made a decision to use this moral of the story to encourage other students to beef up their English.

Closer to home, Chiang Rai locals rejoiced at the odds-upsetting rescue bid.

They were taken by helicopter to a hospital about 70 km (45 miles) away to join their team mates in quarantine for the time being.

"We will sing a song for him", she said.

Several options were explored by authorities - including tunnelling into the trapped group or getting them enough food to wait out the monsoon season.

But they were prodded into the unsafe task of "diving out" the team through submerged chambers and claustrophobic passages as oxygen levels in the cave plummeted and rains menaced.

Thai Navy SEALs also posted photos and a video of some of their operations in the cave on their Facebook page Wednesday.

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