Thai cave rescue: All 12 boys, coach pulled to safety

Thai Cave Rescue photo
An ambulance evacuates a boy to hospital after he was rescued from the Tham Luang cave Tuesday at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

By Susan McFarland

July 10 (UPI) — Divers on Tuesday rescued the final four boys and their coach from a deep cave in Thailand, where they’d been for more than two weeks.

Thai navy SEALs, who’d led the operation, made the announcement on its Facebook page Tuesday.

“Today, the boar’s pack will be reunited again,” the post read, referring to the name of the boys’ soccer team, the Wild Boars.

The rescues moved quickly Tuesday, hours after divers and cave experts brought the first eight boys to the surface. They are being treated in isolation at Chiang Rai hospital, where officials say they appear healthy and fever-free, mentally fit and in high spirits, a medical official told CNN.

Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said some had very low body temperatures and two could have lung inflammation. A boy from the second group had a very low heartbeat, but they have all responded to treatment well, he said.

Medical teams are likely look for signs of Histoplasmosis, also known as “cave disease,” an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus found in bird and bat droppings, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The boys will likely remain under observation for at least seven days and in quarantine to protect them from potential infections while they regain strength. They are also being slowly re-acclimated to bright light.

Several others remained in the cave after the last of the boys and their coach were removed, including a physician and SEAL divers.

The group was stranded for nine days before two British divers discovered them a week ago. They became trapped when heavy rains produced flooding underground, a common occurrence at the cave this time of year.

The group’s well-being became a serious concern due to the depth of the cave, the rising floodwaters, the lack of rescue options and the possibility that they could be forced to stay there for months.

As family and friends wait to see the boys, plans are being made for the reunion.

At the Prasitsart School in Mae Sai, friends of the youngest boy trapped, told CNN they were looking forward to sharing a big plate of fried chicken, the boy’s favorite and something he mentioned to his parents in a letter delivered from inside the cave.

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