The 12 Thai boys and their football coach have finally been rescued after 17 days underground.
Motorists pass a billboard with a photograph showing members of the Thai children's Wild Boar football team and their coach with a message "welcome home brothers".
The 12 boys were passed "sleeping" on stretchers through the treacherous passageways, a former Thai Navy SEAL told AFP Wednesday, giving the first clear details of an astonishing rescue mission that has captivated the world.
TRT World'sJohn Joe Regan has more from northern Thailand.
They were taken by helicopter to a hospital about 70 kilometres away to join their team mates in quarantine for the time being.
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. The children were well taken care of in the cave.
Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said the boys lost an average of 2kg while they were trapped.
The head of the operation for the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach said Tuesday that the cave complex will be turned into a museum about the rescue.
This Monday, July 2, 2018, file photo released by Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center, shows the boys and their soccer coach as they were found in a partially flooded cave, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, Thailand. "All the 13 Wild Boars are now out of the cave", the Thai Navy SEAL team that led the rescue posted on Facebook after completing its mission, Reutersreported.
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Manchester United on Tuesday invited the newly rescued Thai youth soccer team, along with their rescuers, to travel to England to see an upcoming match.
The commander of the navy SEAL unit that oversaw the rescue, Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew, praised the efforts of all rescuers, which included help from Britain, US, Japan, Myanmar, China, Australia, and several other countries.
On Wednesday, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked people involved in the rescue. "There are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things", Glenn McEwan, the Australian Federal Police's Asia manager, told reporters in Chiang Rai.
"We did something nobody thought possible", Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, leader of the rescue effort, said at a celebratory news conference.
"The bravery and heroism I've witnessed is incredibly inspiring, so, yes, this will be a movie for us", he told the publication, indicating the film would likely carry a budget between $30 million and $60 million and be released by the company's mainstream banner Pinnacle Peak, which is gearing up to release a contemporary retelling of Louisa May Alcott's popular novel Little Women on September 28.
The fate of the boys has even resonated as far as Russian Federation, where soccer's World Cup is reaching its final stages.
Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded.
"After all. the world is not such a bad place #humanityfaithrestored #thailandcaverescue", the actress, known in Thailand as "Chompoo", wrote.
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