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Rising waters, no air: How Thai cave rescue nearly went wrong

Rising waters, no air: How Thai cave rescue nearly went wrong

An American involved in the operation described the perilous zero-visibility dives that brought the boys out safely as a "once in a lifetime rescue". Samarn died on July 6 after losing consciousness during a mission to place oxygen tanks deep inside the cave, just two days before the first group of four boys was brought out.

The boys had earlier received an invitation to come watch the World Cup final in Russian Federation, but doctors said they could not go as they were still confined to their hospital beds. Some made the two-finger victory sign from their hospital beds.

But they also stressed that they are not yet pursuing most of the families of the boys, who on Wednesday remained recuperating in hospital.

The doctor said three of the boys were being treated for minor cases of pneumonia, but predicted most would be discharged after about a week.

"The cave has become of interest for both local and foreign travellers", Karuna Dechatiwong, TAT director in Chiang Rai, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying. He said, "Don't need to worry about their physical health and even more so for their mental health".

Footage released by the SEALs showed parts of the rescue operation that captivated the world.

The group were taken out in three batches by a team of 13 global divers flanked by the Thai Navy SEALs, who greeted each successful rescue with a "Hooyah" on their Facebook page.

The rescue was carried out by an elite team of global divers, led by Britons, who guided the sluggish youngsters along the tortuous two-and-a-half-mile escape route, the Daily Mail reports.

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One tragic expedition in 2011, involved the retrieval of the body of his friend, Agnes Milowka, who ran out of air during a cave dive in South Australia.

Rescue officials said the museum would showcase how the operation unfolded, adding that it would be a "major attraction" for Thailand.

They were brought out safely following an extraordinary saga of global cooperation and ingenuity, as experts from many fields planned how to manoeuvre all 13 out alive.

The second group of boys rescued has been given approval to see their parents through glass, but the third group are still undergoing tests, he said. "Everyone worked together without discrimination of race or religion as the ultimate goal was to save the youth football team".

None of the 12 boys had ever been diving and some did not know how to swim.

Harris, an anesthetist and underwater cave explorer who is also known as Harry, was the last man out of the cave Tuesday.

The authorities had previously denied the children were drugged but Prayut Chan-o-Cha confirmed that they had been given an anxiolytic "to make them not excited, not stressed". Alice Bryant adapted them for Learning English.