After being trapped deep inside a cave in Thailand for 18 days, all 12 members of a youth football team and their coach have all finally been rescued.
The rescue of the last four remaining boys and their 25-year-old coach Ekapol Chantawong on Tuesday ended the massive operation that involved over a thousand volunteers composed of foreign and local rescuers, reports Al Jazeera. Jubilant Thais reportedly took to the streets to celebrate the success.
“Twelve Wild Boars [team members] and their coach are out of the cave,” Thai Navy SEALs immediately shared the good news on Facebook. “Hooyah!”
According to the post, the first boy rescued on Tuesday emerged safely at around 4 p.m., six hours after 19 divers entered the cave complex that day. The last individual to be rescued emerged from the cave about three hours later.
All rescued individuals are brought to a hospital in Chiang Rai’s state capital where they will be observed and cared for, for at least seven days.
The 12 boys, aged 11-16, and their coach were trapped inside the cave on June 23 after floodwaters caused by heavy monsoon rains blocked the entrance.
While each stranded victim was brought out successfully, the rescue efforts did have a casualty with the death of Thai volunteer Saman Kunan.
The 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL officer lost consciousness while returning from a chamber in the cave where he placed air tanks along the divers’ route on Friday.
Featured Image via Facebook / Thai Navy SEAL