September 24, 2018

Winnipeg
8° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

'Everyone is safe' after daring rescue of 13 in Thai cave

MAE SAI, Thailand - "Everyone is safe." With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand was complete — a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide.

Thailand's Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, celebrated the feat with a post Tuesday evening that read: "All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave," — a reference to the boys' soccer team. "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what."

Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the final four boys and their coach were guided out of the cave. Their rescue was followed a few hours later by the safe return of a medic and three SEAL divers who had stayed for days with the boys in their cramped, dry refuge.

Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead. People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying them on the last leg of their journey from the cave arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai city in far northern Thailand near the Myanmar border.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

An ambulance waiting for arrival of helicopter of the rescued boys from the flooded cave, in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

An ambulance waiting for arrival of helicopter of the rescued boys from the flooded cave, in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

MAE SAI, Thailand - "Everyone is safe." With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand was complete — a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide.

Thailand's Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, celebrated the feat with a post Tuesday evening that read: "All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave," — a reference to the boys' soccer team. "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what."

Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the final four boys and their coach were guided out of the cave. Their rescue was followed a few hours later by the safe return of a medic and three SEAL divers who had stayed for days with the boys in their cramped, dry refuge.

Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead. People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying them on the last leg of their journey from the cave arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai city in far northern Thailand near the Myanmar border.

One of two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. The ambulance has left the cave complex area hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the cave for more than two weeks. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

One of two ambulances with flashing lights leaves the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018. The ambulance has left the cave complex area hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the cave for more than two weeks. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Their joy and relief was echoed around the globe by the multitude of people who had followed the long ordeal.

Payap Maiming, who helped provide food and necessities to rescue workers and journalists, noted that fact.

"I'm happy for Thais all over the country," he said. "And actually just everyone in the world because every news channel has presented this story and this is what we have been waiting for."

"It's really a miracle," Payap said. "It's hope and faith that has brought us this success."

Amporn Sriwichai, an aunt of rescued coach Ekkapol Chantawong, was ecstatic. "If I see him, I just want to hug him and tell him that I missed him very much," she said.

This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Musk tweeted early Tuesday, July 10, 2018, he has visited the cave and has left a mini-submarine there for future use. (Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP)

This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Musk tweeted early Tuesday, July 10, 2018, he has visited the cave and has left a mini-submarine there for future use. (Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP)

The plight of the boys and their coach captivated much of the world — from the heart-sinking news that they were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers 10 days later. The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains soon filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in the three-day high-stakes operation. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team's air supply.

Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the canisters.

Cave-diving experts had warned diving the youngsters out was potentially too risky. But Thai officials, acutely aware the monsoon rains could trap the boys for months, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather. A massive effort to pump out water made the winding passageways more navigable. And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday.

"We did something nobody thought possible," Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, leader of the rescue effort, said at a celebratory news conference.

Hospital workers watch a press conference at their hospital where rescued boys are tended to, in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. A Thai public health official said Tuesday the eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in "high spirits" and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Hospital workers watch a press conference at their hospital where rescued boys are tended to, in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. A Thai public health official said Tuesday the eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in "high spirits" and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking Tuesday before the final rescue was completed, said the boys were given an anti-anxiety medication to help with their perilous removal from the cave.

Asked at a news conference in Bangkok if the boys had been sedated, Prayuth said: "Who would chloroform them? If they're chloroformed, how could they come out? It's called anxiolytic, something to make them not excited, not stressed."

Prayuth said the Tham Luang cave would be closed for some time to make it safe for visitors.

The first eight boys brought out were doing well and were in good spirits at the hospital. They received a treat on Tuesday: bread with chocolate spread that they had requested.

Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the boys rescued Sunday were able to eat normal food by Tuesday, though they couldn't yet take the spicy dishes favoured by many Thais.

Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling," he said.

"The kids are footballers, so they have high immune systems," Jedsada told a news conference. "Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist evaluate them."

It could be at least a week before they can be released from the hospital, he said.

For now the boys were in isolation to try to keep them safe from infections by outsiders. But family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.

It was clear doctors were taking a cautious approach. Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."

Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, second from right, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry, speaks during a press conference at a hospital in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Thai health official says rescued boys will be staying in hospital at least seven days. The Thai public health official said the eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in “high spirits” and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, second from right, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry, speaks during a press conference at a hospital in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Thai health official says rescued boys will be staying in hospital at least seven days. The Thai public health official said the eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in “high spirits” and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

If medical tests show no dangers after another two days, parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing, staying 2 metres (yards) away from the boys, said another public health official, Tosthep Bunthong.

John Tangkitcharoenthawon, a local village chairman, was bursting with happiness over the successful rescue.

"If this place had a roof, the morale has gone straight through it," he said.

President Donald Trump joined those paying tribute to the rescuers.

"On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand," he tweeted. "Such a beautiful moment — all freed, great job!"

One of soccer's most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season.

A message posted on the English Premier League club's Twitter account said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season."

The international soccer federation, FIFA, had already invited the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia this Sunday. However, doctors treating the boys said it was too soon for them to make the trip.

More Images

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

THAILAND CAVE RESCUE

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.