Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

The Director of Chiang Rai Hospital said that the boys will need to remain hospitalised for seven to 10 days and then another month of home recovery.

"It might be because they were all together as a team", public health ministry inspector general Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong told reporters.

Doctors said that when the boys first arrived, one had a heartbeat that was too slow and some other had low counts of white blood cells, though those issues have since been resolved.

"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.

With oxygen levels in their chamber falling to unsafe levels and monsoon rains threatening to flood the cave up above the ledge where the boys were sheltering, rescuers decided on the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the tunnels.

The boys and their coach have now all been taken to hospital after the three-day evacuation that was a battle against heavy, predicted rain. That's good news for the boys who had said they were looking forward to fried rice with basil.

While their parents have been able to visit them, they have been kept separate "through the glass because doctors are concerned".

Video of the rescued Thai football team chatting with nurses and making two-finger victory signs has been released by the Thai hospital where the 12 boys and their coach are recuperating.

The 12 young footballers - aged between 11 and 16 - and their 25-year-old coach were trapped in the cave in an ordeal that riveted people around the world. Three boys from the last group saved have ear infections.

The boys were in isolation in the hospital to prevent infections by outsiders.

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Thai Navy SEALs also posted photos and a video of some of their operations in the cave on their Facebook page Wednesday.

Each boy was strapped to one of two rescue divers tasked with shepherding him, and bundled onto stretchers to be carried through the dry parts.

The dangers of the rescue were brought into sharp relief last Friday by the death of a retired Thai Navy SEAL as he ran out off air in the flooded cave complex as the extraction plans were being laid.

The incredible rescue has been deemed a miracle by many, but the operation wasn't without tragedy.

He lauded the co-operation between Thai and global rescuers.

Described in a South Australia Ambulance Service statement as a "quiet and kind man" who "didn't think twice about offering his support on this mission" Harry, as he is known, was lauded for his work in throughout the rescue period.

The multi-hour journey the team had to make towards the cave's mouth reportedly included navigating passageways as narrow as 40 centimetres while some of the boys did not know how to swim.

Each of these arduous round trips took between nine and 11 hours for the worldwide team of 18 divers.

VOA and the Associated Press wrote this report.

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