The complicated Thai cave rescue operation ended successfully on Tuesday with all 12 members and the coach of a youth football team being brought out of the flooded caves they were stuck in for 17 days.
The 12 members of the Wild Boars football team and their coach were stranded in the Tham Luang caves in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai province after heavy rains caused flooding. While all the footballers are now safe, a Thai Navy SEAL lost his life during the operation.
The tricky, and at times dangerous, operation conducted by the Thai Navy SEALs and expert diving teams from several countries lasted three days. It was carried out under intense international coverage by the media with thousands of people across the world praying for the safety of the group of footballers.
Thai Cave Rescue In Phases
The boys, reported to be aged between 11 and 16 years, went missing along with their coach after leaving to explore the cave complex on 23 June. The complex is located in a forest park in the Chiang Rai province, close to the border with Myanmar.
Divers had managed to reach the 12 footballers and their coach late on 2 July; they were on an elevated rock nearly four kilometres away from the mouth of the cave.
The international rescue operation was an arduous one and had to be planned meticulously to ensure its success. This report by CNN gives details of how it was executed.
The first day of the Thai cave rescue operation on Sunday saw four young footballers being rescued; the last batch was brought out to safety on Tuesday evening.
The last to leave the cave, after all the footballers had been moved out to safety, were three Thai Navy SEALs and Australian doctor Richard Harris who, incidentally, is also a diving expert.
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” said the Thai Navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page.
The Thai cave rescue operation was closely monitored by Chiang Rai province Governor Narongsak Osotthanakor, who also regularly briefed the media on the progress of the mission.