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Father of Australian doctor died just after trapped Thai boys were rescued

12 July 2018

The youngest boy, 11, appeared to be asleep under a crisp white sheet. Some of them, wearing surgical masks, lay on their beds.

The eventual rescue of all 12 boys from the Tham Luang cave prompted worldwide joy.

Agroup of Thai Navy divers in Tham Luang cave during rescue operations. Two of the first group had a lung infection as well. It culminated last night with the successful rescue of the last four of the 12 trapped boys and their football coach.

Some of the rescued boys in hospital. "The coach was the one to choose". They were found by a pair of British divers almost 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, smiling with relief but visibly skinny.

The complex mission for global and Thai divers to guide the boys and coach through the cave's flooded and tight passageways had riveted people worldwide. For 17 days, Thai navy SEALS, divers and engineers delivered food, medical care and oxygen to the group while working to free them.

If medical tests show no dangers after another two days, parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing, staying 2 metres away from the boys, said another public health official, Tosthep Bunthong.

The hashtag #Hooyah was also hugely popular with Thai netizens wanting to show their support for the hundreds of rescuers, including divers from around the world, who helped to get the boys out. They will remain in hospital in the nearby city of Chiang Rai for a week, followed by a week's recuperation at home. "Everyone worked together without discrimination of race or religion as the ultimate goal was to save the youth football team".

"We did something nobody thought possible", said Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn during a news briefing once the rescue was complete.

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The boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, and Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, were exploring the cave system in Chiang Rai after a practice game on June 23, when monsoon rains flooded the entrance. Relatively mild weather and a massive effort to pump out water created a window of opportunity.

Officials revealed on Tuesday that the first eight boys rescued from the cavern were in good health overall and some requested bread slathered with chocolate for breakfast.

Risks such as the boys' deteriorating physical condition and the possibility of life-saving equipment breaking down mid-mission made the rescue effort particularly unsafe, Hodges said.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha asked that the boys be given time to recover.

The government's efforts, the assistance of people in Thailand and overseas, and the outpouring of moral support made the mission a success, Prayuth said in a televised national address.

Scott's wife has been involved with planning the funeral for Saman Kunan, the former SEAL that died on July 6 while helping install oxygen tanks in preparation for the extraction.

"His honor, sacrifice and legacy will forever be in our hearts", Prayuth said.

Father of Australian doctor died just after trapped Thai boys were rescued