All 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for more than two weeks deep inside a flooded Thai cave have been rescued, a Thai navy SEAL unit says, marking a successful end to a perilous mission that gripped the world.
"The 12 Wild Boars and coach have emerged from the cave and they are safe," the Thai navy SEAL unit said on its official Facebook page.
The team and their coach got trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after soccer practice and a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.
British divers found the team, hungry and huddled in darkness in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
After pondering for days how to get the 13 out, a rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers.
Another four were rescued on Monday and the last four boys and the coach were brought out on Tuesday.
Celebrations will be tinged with sadness over the loss of a former Thai navy diver who died last Friday while on a re-supply mission inside the cave in support of the rescue.
NEWS agencies are reporting all 13 members of a soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave complex for more than two weeks have been rescued.
The 25-year-old coach is alleged to have been the last Wild Boars team member to leave the Tham Luang caves after more than two weeks underground.
Eleven people have been confirmed as having been rescued.
Eight of the boys were freed from the cave complex during the previous two days.
A post on the Thai NavySEAL Facebook page indicated today’s rescue effort would be longer the previous two.
“We will celebrate together finally,” the post concluded.
An 11th boy has been rescued from a flooded Thai cave complex after more than two weeks underground, raising hopes all 13 members of a soccer team will be out by the end of the day.
A Reuters witness has now seen three people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers on Tuesday, the third day of the rescue operation.
Eight of the boys were brought out on stretchers over the first two days - four each on Sunday and Monday.
The operation is moving into its final stages, and the head of the rescue, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said earlier it would be "more challenging" on Tuesday because one more survivor would be brought out, along with three Navy SEALs who have been accompanying them.
But he said the rescuers have been learning from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out on Monday.
"I hope today we will be faster or the same speed as yesterday," Narongsak said.
A team of foreign divers - including Australians - and Thai Navy SEALS has been guiding the boys out through nearly four kilometres of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels.
The soccer team and their coach got trapped by a downpour on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after practice.
British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday are in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued are all walking around their hospital beds.
They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.
A 10th person has been rescued from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes that all 13 would be out by the end of today (Thai time.)
A Reuters witness saw two people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers on Tuesday, the first two to be taken out on the third day of the rescue operation.
Eight of the boys were brought out on stretchers over the first two days, four over Sunday and Monday.
The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said earlier the final operation on Tuesday would be “more challenging” because one more survivor would be brought out, along with three Navy SEALs who have been accompanying them.
A ninth boy has been rescued from a cave in northern Thailand.
Thai Navy SEAL confirmed on its Facebook page that the ninth boy had been rescued.
The boy was one of 12 who were trapped with their soccer coach in the Tham Luang cave.
The third day of the rescue mission got under way just after 10am local time.
There are 19 divers involved in this final operation.
Eight children were retrieved from the cave during the first two days of the rescue operation.