Thai Boys in High Spirits Following Cave Rescue

Thai rescue teams walk inside cave complex

Matcha Phoru-in, an activist who works with undocumented refugees in northern Thailand, told Reuters that people who are stateless aren't recognized as citizens of any country, are usually poor, and have restricted travel, work and benefits rights.

"My wife actually grew up with the Thai Navy SEAL that died in the cave. Thank you so much to everyone that has been praying for us and the boys and helping us; thank you".

The final four boys and their 25-year-old coach were brought to safety on Tuesday, having entered the network for exploration on June 23 before it became flooded by monsoon rains.

He said the children hadn't eaten any food in the nine days before they were found, and drank murky water from inside the cave, which saved them.

This handout video grab taken from footage released by the Royal Thai Navy yesterday (July 11) shows a member of the "Wild Boars" Thai youth football team being moved on a stretcher during a rescue operation inside the Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district. The soccer team is now in isolation at a hospital following the rescue.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days.

Parents of the first eight boys freed have been able to visit them but had to wear protective suits and stand 2 meters (7 feet) away as a precaution.

He's got a very bouncy Australian accent and they [the rescued boys] seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring.

Narongsak Osatanakorn is the official who oversaw the rescue operation.

The saga is reminiscent of the 2010 rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days, a tale that was turned into the 2015 movie "The 33" starring Antonio Banderas.

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

"We worked until we forgot the time", said Captain Anan Surawan, chief of the 1st Special Forces Regiment.

The rescue sparked jubilation with Thais heaping praise on the rescue team of foreign and local divers as the triumphant tagline "Hooyah" pinballed across social media. It took the divers about eight hours to get into the cave, reach the boys and bring them back out.

The boys were eventually rescued, along with their coach, and now Hollywood wants in on the incredible story.

"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is nearly beyond our imagination when we first became involved", they said.

Questions will remain as to why the team, led by their 25-year-old coach, went into the caves during the rainy season - it is common knowledge that it is a unsafe time to enter, and signs at the entrance specifically warn of the dangers of monsoon rains.

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