As water level surged, Thai cave rescue nearly ended in disaster

As water level surged, Thai cave rescue nearly ended in disaster

As water level surged, Thai cave rescue nearly ended in disaster

The Thai navy has released new footage from inside the Tham Luang cave, where 12 boys and their coach were trapped for more than two weeks, revealing more details about the multi-day rescue mission that captured the attention of the world.

The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains soon filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.

"And we're here witnessing the events, gathering some contacts and everything, to really tell a story about an global effort, the entire world coming together to save (12) kids trapped in this Thai cave".

All are recovering at a hospital in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province, where video showed several of them in seemingly good spirits, waving and flashing peace signs to the camera.

After days of mounting speculation, a former Thai Navy SEAL diver broke the silence, revealing the boys were sleeping or partially-conscious as they were passed from diver-to-diver through the cave.

"Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers".

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At least three of the boys in the team as well as their coach are stateless refugees and might have restricted travel rights, Reuters has reported.

Narongsak said about half of the 13 foreign divers on the crack team of 18 who rescued the boys were British.

Thailand's junta chief told reporters on Tuesday that the group had been given a "minor tranquiliser" to help calm their nerves.

But it has also emerged that the operation nearly ended in disaster when the water pumps failed in the final stage.

"If you didn't use the water pump in that location, you could only come out with an oxygen tank", ex-SEAL Com Chaiyananta said.

They were found dishevelled and emaciated but alive on a muddy ledge 4km inside the cave nine days after they went missing.

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Ms Bishop said the doctor is also known to authorities for his work on medical assistance teams in natural disasters in the Pacific region, and has taken part in Australian aid missions in Vanuatu.

The boys lost on average 2kg during their ordeal but are said to be in good physical condition.

"FIFA would like to express its great joy at the news of the rescue of the 12 young footballers and their coach", said a statement released to Omnisport on Tuesday.

The world held its breath over the three days it took to retrieve the Wild Boars.

Thai officials say the fate of the boys and the multinational rescue has put the cave firmly on the map and plans are in place to develop it into a tourist destination. Last night a 14-year-old member of the trapped football team was also hailed as a hero.

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