Not all heroes wear capes, the ones in Thailand wear scuba gear.
The 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach were rescued during a three-day mission in the Tham Luang caves in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand. The rescue operation, which began Sunday, included a team of international divers and the Thai Navy SEALs.
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the Thai Navy SEAL unit, which led the rescue, said on its Facebook page.
Rescue divers had to travel through murky waters and narrow passageways to reach the boys and their coach, who had been trapped since June 23. With little to no experience swimming or breathing under water, divers were somehow able to successfully lead them out of the cave complex in a delicate operation that saw the boys and the coach tethered to divers.
The 12 boys, who are between the ages of 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, are members of the Wild Boars soccer team. They entered the cave after a soccer practice and soon found themselves trapped when heavy rains flooded the complex.
Located a kilometre under the surface, the boys and their coach survived without food for 10 days. A doctor involved in the operations told Reuters the group survived by drinking water that dripped from stalactite formations inside the cave.
The group was first found by British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen on July 2, BBC News reported. All 13 missing were still alive. Eight days later, rescue crews dramatically overcame the odds to save a group of people with no diving experience by diving with them through the flooded cave.
The mission wasn’t entirely successful, however. A former Thai Navy diver, Saman Guan, lost consciousness on July 6, two days before the rescue operation began. He had been delivering air tanks in the cave complex when he ran out of oxygen in one of the passageways, according to BBC News. The death highlighted the risks and dangers involved in the mission to save the group.
But against all odds, the rescue team was successful in extracting the group. The story has received international attention and onlookers have praised the Thai Navy SEALs for their work leading a successful mission against the odds.
With files from Reuters