As the last batch ambulances waited on the muddy pathways on mouth of the Tham Luang cave, the SEAL officers confirmed that all 12 Thai football players and their coach have been successfully extracted after being stuck for more than two weeks – ending the Thai cave rescue mission with a triumph.

On June 23rd, 12 teenager boys of a Thai football team called Wild Boars and their 25-year-old monk-turned-coach from a small town on Thai-Myanmar border went exploring a cave after a football match. Due to heavy rainfall, all 13 of them got stuck in the Tham Luang cave that was flooded and were reported to have went missing. An international search operation was launched, involving divers from over 10 countries and all 13 were found alive by a British diver team – nine days after they went missing. However, the complicated structure and completely submerged narrow passages of the cave made it extremely difficult for the novice teenagers to dive out.

The entire trip inside the cave included diving, hiking, walking, swimming and passing through extremely narrow passages submerged in ink-dark water – making it tough even for experienced divers. After days of intricate planning and rehearsals, a team of seasoned divers from Britain, Australia, China and Thailand as well as exquisite Thai navy team SEAL led all 13 stuck in the cave in batches of four. Each of the 13 were tethered to one diver in front and on following from behind. Along with the 13 people, an Australian doctor was stationed inside the cave with the team to lookout on their health and perhaps, he was the last person to be extracted from the cave.

With the help of an international high-profile team, the Thai cave rescue operation ended with a triumph with all 12 Thai boys and their coach rescued safely. The SEAL confirmed the wellbeing of the team with a Facebook post saying, “All 12 ‘Wild Boars’ and coach have been extracted from the cave. All are safe” and signed it off with “Hooyah” – which has become their trademark outcry to celebrate the successful extractions of other boys over the previous two days. The “incredibly strong kids” are currently undergoing medical treatment while the world applauds the miracle Thai cave rescue mission that it was.

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