Thailand cave rescue to be turned into Hollywood movie

Sergio Cunningham
July 13, 2018

The youngest, 11, appeared asleep under a crisp white sheet.

He attributed their relative good health to their coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, a former monk who was the last person out.

"My job was to transfer them along", he said, adding the "boys were wrapped up in stretchers already when they were being transferred".

The boys would have to stay in the hospital for up to 10 days, hospital director Chaiwetch Thanapaisal told the news conference.

The boys, aged 11-16, trapped in a cave in the Thai region of Chaing Rai have now been saved, and are recovering in hospital.

Even so, all need to be monitored in the hospital for a week and then rest at home for another 30 days, he said.

The first group was rescued Monday, and the second and third groups early Tuesday.

The Thai government released video of the boys as they recover.

"I'm so happy he's safe". "The coach was the one to choose".

The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape, and pushing them deeper inside in search of a refuge.

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The complex mission for global and Thai divers to guide the boys and coach through the cave's flooded and tight passageways riveted people worldwide.

The rescue mission, in which a Thai navy diver died, involved 90 divers who captured the world's imagination as they tirelessly worked to save the boys.

Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said the boys were given a "minor tranquiliser" to keep them calm. He lauded the cooperation between Thai and worldwide rescuers.

The parents, who according to Komolvadhin, don't blame the coach who took the team to the cave and had been communicating with the boys through messages delivered by the SEALs.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters today that the entire operation would not have been possible without the unique skills that Harris brought to the mission, though he did not elaborate.

The players Pornchai Kamluang, Adul Sam-on and Mongkhol Boonpiam, plus their coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, whose families come from northern Thailand's porous and largely lawless border regions abutting Myanmar's Shan State, are technically stateless and not considered citizens under Thai law, leaving them without numerous rights their teammates enjoy.

Police officers took photographs of each other at the massive cave entrance, as pumps continued to suck out huge volumes of water.

The rescue mission which spanned days was a success after everyone was rescued.

Thai doctors said the boys each lost about 2 kilograms, or roughly 4.5 pounds, from the ordeal. They were able to obtain water dripping inside the cave.

They are malnourished and weak, and doctors are anxious that they could be susceptible to germs spread by family members or other visitors, Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University infectious diseases expert, says.

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