Thailand erupted in celebration after the successful rescue of 12 young boys and their football coach from the flooded cave in one of the most daring operations to date.
Watch the moment the last divers emerge from the cave as the rescue mission successfully ends in the video below.
Thai authorities and experts around the world considered ideas such as drilling holes into the mountain or waiting until the end of monsoon rains causing recession of water, with the chief rescue officer at one point dubbing their efforts ‘Mission Impossible’.
Finally, a team of specialist divers, led by Thai Navy SEALs and British experts, entered the fateful cave to ‘effectively pull’ the boys one-by-one through several miles of water-filled tunnels – despite many of the boys not knowing how to swim.
Rescue chief and Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn announced the completion of the operation on Tuesday and credited its success to the tireless efforts of the international team and the Thai Navy SEALs.
The last people who emerged from the cave were the 4 Thai Navy SEALs including a medic who had been staying with the Wild Boar FC team since they were discovered on July 2.
Confirming the success of the operation, the Thai Navy SEALs wrote on their official Facebook page: ’12 wild boars and coach out of the cave. Everyone is safe. Now just waiting to pick up four frogs [Navy SEALs]. Hooyah.’
They later added: ‘We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave.’
Following the happy news, citizens of Thailand took to the streets to celebrate the incredible event.
Residents of Chiang Rai, the city closest to the caves, danced all night outside the hospital where the group was recovering.
‘This is an important event in my life. It is something I will remember,’ Rachapol Ngamgrabuan, an official at Chiang Rai’s provincial press office, said in a visibly emotional state.
‘There were times when I cried,’ he further told. ‘Happy. Very happy to see all Thai people love each other.’
Thai Governor, who previously called the operation ‘Mission Impossible’, said it had been ‘Mission Possible for Team Thailand’.
‘Nobody thought we could do it. It was a world first (mission). The heroes this time are people all over the world.’
He credited their success to the ‘power of love,’ saying, ‘This mission was successful because we had power. The power of love. Everybody sent it to the 13.’
The rescue efforts were praised by the world leaders including the US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who took to Twitter to congratulate the authorities.
‘On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand. Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!’ Trump wrote in a tweet.
Theresa May also tweeted that she was ‘delighted to see the successful rescue of those trapped in the caves in Thailand. The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved.’
The young team was invited by FIFA to watch the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday but they will have to turn down the invitation due to their recovering health.
However, they can accept the invitation to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United play.
‘We would be honored to welcome the team from the Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season,’ the British football club wrote on their official Facebook page.
The young soccer team was praised for their bravery by a Danish diving instructor who was the part of the team helping to guide them out through the water-filled tunnels.
‘They are being forced to do something that no kid has ever done before,’ Karadzic told on the final day of the operation.
‘It is not in any way normal for kids to do cave diving aged 11.
‘They are diving in something that is considered an extremely hazardous environment, in zero visibility, the only light in there is the torches you bring yourself.
‘We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic. I cannot understand how cool these small kids are … Incredibly strong kids.’
When the boys were taken to the hospital, they were weak and ravenously hungry but were in good spirits, Thailand’s public health chief Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk revealed.
‘All of the boys were suffering from hypothermia when they arrived at the hospital,’ Jedsada said.
‘But they have all now reached normal body temperature. The hypothermia could have been a result of diving for several hours.
‘All of the boys have been given inoculations and rabies inoculations because of the concern that they may have been bitten by bats which live in the cave.
‘One of the boys has a slow heartbeat but overall they [the eight evacuated so far] are in a safe condition and their lives are not in danger.’
Jedsada further told the boys have been laughing and joking with staff and officials including the Thailand prime minister General Prayut Chan-o-Cha who came to meet the team and their families.
‘They are very talkative. They were laughing and joking with the prime minister when he visited them last night.
‘They say they are happy to be out of the cave and want to go home.’
“Recommended Video – Football Team Has Been Trapped In A Flooded Thailand Cave For 11 days – Now Rescuers Found Out There May Be A Secret Passage Out Of The Cave”