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'Not good - the best': Thai rescue chief hails Aussie cave hero

11 July 2018

Broadcaster ABC said it was Harris who decided in what order they should leave, in an operation that culminated in joy on Tuesday when Thailand's Navy SEALs declared the whole team was safely out, 18 days after the ordeal began.

"They must have passed through about 150 hands", one of the divers said at a briefing in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand today. The rescued boys are now in the hospital receiving treatment.

The acting governor of Chiang Rai state, Narongsak Osottanakorn, led the rescue operation.

She says it has felt like the whole world was rooting for the boys.

In addition to the 1,000 Thai soldiers who helped out with the rescue operation, hundreds of others took on crucial roles. "All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave", the Seals said, referring to the name of the boys' football team.

It's understood Dr Harris was the last person to come out of the cave after assessing the remaining four boys and their coach.

"I'm very happy that children are all out", said one of the men employed by the Thai government to help with the rescue.

According to NBC News, the twelve boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year old coach entered the caves two weeks ago but were trapped after rain caused flooding. A former Thai Navy diver lost his life while on a re-supply mission inside the cave to support the rescue. But Thai officials, acutely aware the monsoon rains could trap the boys for months, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather.

The daring mission to save 12 Thai boys and their football coach from the Tham Luang cave could have ended in disaster after water pumps draining the area failed while rescuers were still inside, a few hours after the children's team had been evacuated.

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The first eight boys brought out were doing well and were in good spirits at the hospital.

This mini-submarine may not sound like the most practical or comfortable way to escape a flooded cave, but it's important to note that the trapped kids were not able to swim and had become weak from malnutrition and exhaustion, and none of them had any scuba diving experience, CNN reported.

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around in hospital.

"The kids are footballers, so they have high immune systems", Jedsada told a news conference.

For now the boys were in isolation to try to keep them safe from infections by outsiders.

They're all likely to stay the hospital for seven days due to their weakened immune systems, Chokedamrongsook said.

Federation Internationale de Football Association has invited the team to attend the World Cup final on Sunday, but doctors have said they would need to stay in hospital for at least a week to ensure they are in good health.

It was a "miracle" they had survived and an even greater one that the rescue team, including worldwide caving experts, were able to hatch a plan to get them out alive.

US President Donald Trump tweeted "great job" and British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved".

'Not good - the best': Thai rescue chief hails Aussie cave hero