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Thai 'Wild Boars' return to training after teammates' rescue

Thai 'Wild Boars' return to training after teammates' rescue

The football team of 12 boys aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old coach had hiked to the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand on June 23, but were trapped by rising flood waters.

Footage of the moment Stanton and John Volanthen discovered the 12 dishevelled and emaciated boys was viewed millions of times after it was posted on the official Facebook page of Thai Navy SEAL, prompting hope for their rescue.

"We are not heroes". "But I think at that point we realized the enormity of the situation and that's perhaps why it took awhile to get them all out".

After landing at Heathrow Airport, Mr Volanthen spoke of the relief he felt at seeing the boys rescued after an 18-day ordeal in the Luang Nang Non cave, but was modest about his extraordinary feat.

Volanthen's mother, Jill, told the outlet that she is proud of her son - but "my sympathy is with the wife and family of the diver [Former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan] who lost his life".

"We couldn't see them initially - they had to come round the corner".

"[It's] one I would dread doing", he said.

"Without forgetting the efforts of the foreign divers from the United Kingdom and Australia, the story should be about the Thai boys and that Northern Thai community, instead of having a story we've seen for years and years about a white saviour in a foreign land".

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But bursts of monsoon rain caused the water inside the cave to rise, leaving them trapped.

The boys were held close to the divers and remained motionless for parts of the journey where they had to dive.

Mr Stanton told reporters: "This was completely uncharted, unprecedented territory and nothing like this has been done. Nothing like this has ever been done", he said.

"But I know we had a good team and good support from the Thai authorities and the national caving community and rescue organisations, so we had the best we could do to make a plan work".

"The part we played has been made out to be a lot more noble than it actually was, we just consider ourselves lucky to have had some skills that we could contribute to the wonderful outcome."

Stanton rejected suggestions the divers were heroes.

"There was a lot of chaos but we were so task-orientated, focused and we blanked that out and carried on with the job in hand, step by step, until we achieved success".

Volanthen and Stanton flew back to the United Kingdom after the rescue - despite the millions of Thai street parties in their honor, according to the report.