One Boy Takes On Key Role During Thailand Cave Rescue

Friday, 13 Jul, 2018

The SEALs commander, Rear Adm. Apakorn Youkongkae, said the soccer coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, determined the order the boys from the Wild Boars soccer team should be rescued in.

"We're very glad we could get you out alive".

Weenas Srisook, director of the provincial administration registration, said Mae Sai authorities are now reviewing each team member's proof of identity, adding that top ministry officials have ordered they find a way to grant them citizenship within the law.

Indeed, it was almost another week before the first of the "Wild Boars" soccer team was brought out of the cave by elite divers who had, with Thai special forces, planned the rescue meticulously - but quickly, as more rains threatened.

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

British divers Richard Stanton, left, and John Volanthen at the base camp for the rescue operation last week. "What we do is very calculating, very calm".

Their plight and the massive, risky three-day-long operation to free them gripped the world's attention. "It's quite the opposite" of being a hero.

The rescue all made possible because of a daring nature of the Thai Navy Seals was an act of bravery the world will never forget.

All 12 of the boys and their 25-year-old coach were brought to safety over the course of a three-day rescue, organised by Thai navy SEALs and an global team of diving and caving experts, that ended on Tuesday. The video from inside the hospital in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand sees some of the boys making "horn" hand signs for the camera, as they sit in their beds surrounded by medical staff.

He said "relief is the word I would use" to describe the moment he and Stanton found the group. "We saw that he gave his life for this cause".

"I think it is a miracle".

After nearly three weeks trapped in the dark, away from their loved ones in a cave in northern Thailand, the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were allowed to see their relatives in a carefully controlled environment, as doctors are still concerned about their health.

"Very good. The best - not good - the very best". Their discovery immediately prompted discussions on how to get them out, with initial reports suggesting that the safest way to rescue the team was to wait out the rainy season, which lasts until October, and guide them out once the flooded tunnels had dried. "So, that seemed to work".

Mr Volanthen also paid tribute to Thai navy rescue diver Saman Kunan, who died in the cave while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.

"It's about the triumphs of individuals and groups of human beings over tragedy", Medavoy said. "It's kind of bittersweet for what's otherwise been an excellent operation".