Classmates of trapped boy in Thai cave reveal heart-warming gesture

Richard Harris a doctor from South Australia swam into the cave to determine if the boys were fit enough to make their arduous journey out of the cave

Thailand football team won't attend World Cup final

Members of the Thai navy SEAL team who were among the first searchers to penetrate the watery depth of Tham Luang Nang Non cave and the last divers out flew Thursday to their base at Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand, where they received a heroes' welcome.

The boys and their coach remain quarantined at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in northern Chiang Rai province, while they recover from a variety of minor ailments, Thai officials said at a news conference Wednesday.

Harris played a pivotal role in the rescue effort, positioned on the muddy bank in the cave with the boys and their coach, assessing their fitness for the perilous journey back to the outside.

Dr Richard Harris and his dive partner Craig Challen have issued a statement thanking people for their support and words of encouragement after the successful cave dive rescue of 12 trapped boys and their football coach.

Volanthen and fellow Brit Rick Stanton were the first rescuers to find the boys deep in the Tham Luang cave complex.

The IT tech said that the divers were not heroes and directed attention to the rest of his team and the Thai Navy Seals. The footage also depicts one of the boys flashing a victory sign and their parents crying and waving at the children from behind a glass partition.

"By the time the last diver was out the water was already at head level, nearly to the point where he needed an oxygen tank".

Thai navy SEALs posted a almost six-minute video on their Facebook page that shows rescue workers pass along green stretchers in which the boys were being transported.

A Google search on Tuesday for the words "Thai cave rescue" revealed 359 million results.

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That left 20 or so divers scrambling to flee the rising waters, he said, explaining they narrowly made it out time. Meanwhile, reports say the boys and the coach were sedated to stop them panicking during the unsafe rescue.

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

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

That left 20 or so divers scrambling to flee the rising waters, he said, explaining they narrowly made it out time.

They are in good physical and mental health, say doctors, despite a harrowing 18 days inside the dank, dark cave before a risky rescue operation that was dubbed "Mission: Impossible".

"Anyone can bring this card to show it to the doctors, so the doctor can be alerted to any kinds of diseases and take care of them, such as colds", Thongchai told reporters.

The world held its breath over the three days it took to retrieve the Wild Boars.

Closer to home, Chiang Rai locals rejoiced at the odds-upsetting rescue bid. He said he just came to save the kids. "I want to see the face of my child and embrace him and ask him how he feels and how he's doing".

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 risky task of "diving out" the team through submerged chambers and claustrophobic passages as oxygen levels in the cave plummeted and rain menaced.

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