Thailand cave rescue: colleagues praise Australian doctor who played central role

Four Thai navy SEALs give a thumbs up as they leave the cave

Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a health department inspector, earlier told reporters one from the last group rescued on Tuesday had a lung infection and they were all given vaccinations for rabies and tetanus.

The footage, released on the Thai Navy SEALs Facebook page, shows a complex operation with numerous divers - both foreign and Thai - using pulleys, ropes and rubber piping to haul members of the football team to safety.

The Thai boys saved from a flooded cave endured dives in zero visibility and in places were put in a harness and high-lined across rocky caverns, in what a leader of the U.S. contingent called a "once in a lifetime rescue".

The trapped group in Thailand have now all been rescued from the cave, and are now recuperating in hospital.

All 12 of the boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have now been rescued, along with their 25-year-old coach, according to reports in the Mirror.

"Everyone is strong in mind and heart", he said at a news conference of officials involved in the high-risk rescue effort.

The first images have been released of the Thai soccer team recovering in the hospital after being rescued from a cave. "I'm happy that the boys are out too", said Khamluh Guntawong, the grandfather of team coach Ekkapol Chantawong.

The group entered the cave June 23 but flooding cut off the exit.

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The most touching note came from one whose name was not clear: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry". The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game.

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The dramatic rescue of a dozen boys from a flooded Thai cave ended a harrowing two-week ordeal that most seem to have weathered with astonishing mental and physical resilience - at least for the moment. Former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan died last Friday while putting extra air tanks along the escape path.

Thirteen global cave divers joined five Thai Navy SEALs in the unsafe rescue operation.

'I am inspired by the remarkable global cooperation, ' Mr Turnbull said. "Everyone worked together without discrimination of race or religion as the ultimate goal was to save the youth football team".

Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said: 'We don't see the children as at fault or as heroes.

Thailand's decision to dive the boys out despite their weak condition and lack of diving experience was made when a window of opportunity was provided by relatively mild weather. On Tuesday authorities said some of the boys had asked to eat bread with chocolate spread, but mostly they'll be given a food similar to milk which is rich in proteins and nutrients.

The group became trapped in rising floodwaters and were found nine days later emaciated and disheveled on a muddy ledge, with water lapping ominously below.

It is believed that the second lot of boys are in better health than the first four who were brought out first because they were deemed the "weakest".

However, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has said precautions would have to be implemented both inside and outside the cave to safeguard tourists.

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