Thailand cave rescue: Brit divers who found boys 'deserve George Cross'

Royal Thai Navy rescuers entering the cave

After nearly three weeks trapped in the dark, away from their loved ones in a cave in northern Thailand, the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were allowed to see their relatives in a carefully controlled environment, as doctors are still concerned about their health.

"That is important so these children can reintegrate little by little into their old environment, because they will be very traumatised and vulnerable".

Dr. Ken Dunham, a psychiatrist with Novant Health Psychiatric Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told Newsweek that the boys should be monitored for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol abuse, which are the three most common problems affecting people who survive a disaster.

All are now recovering in hospital after the ordeal.

"I started to cry, everybody started to cry", he said.

The remaining team members waited for news that the rescue had succeeded before returning to training on Thursday (July 12) evening, on a field where they are eager to see their friends again soon. And helped him to have a new life, it's like a rebirth.

Cylinders placed at locations throughout the cave for replenishing the boys' air supply were "jammed" with 80 percent oxygen instead of regular air because "that would plus up their oxygen saturation levels and that would be really good for them, their mental state", he said.

He attributed their relative good health to their coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, a former monk who was the last person out. "The boys were wrapped up in stretchers already when they were being transferred".

Parents awaiting reunion were seen crying and waving to the boys through a glass barrier meant to safeguard against potential infections.

Their plight and the massive, risky three-day-long operation to free them gripped the world's attention.

In the cavern, one-by-one, the boys were fitted with 5mm-thick wetsuits and full-face scuba masks.

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Three of the 13 people rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex may be given Thai citizenship within six months, Thai news site The Nation reported on Friday (Jul 13). When the boys entered the cave they each had a flashlight along with one watch and one mobile phone with light until the batteries died.

Ropes were used inside the cave as gushing water made the escape even more risky for the Thai boys.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday the operation was nothing short of a miracle. However, they opted for the risky task of bringing the team through the water instead as the oxygen levels in the cave were dropping drastically.

But the rescue in murky water presents an added challenge.

He was the last man out of the cave Tuesday but emerged to tragedy, learning of his father's death shortly after the rescue had completed.

"Seals need cave-diving training", Naval Special Warfare Command chief Rear Admiral Apakorn Yukongkaew said yesterday when asked to name a priority for his Seal unit after returning from the cave rescue mission. "This mission was successful because of cooperation from everyone", he said.

"The first thing I want to do is hug him,"he said."All parents have the same feeling". "Without him, in this operation, I don't think we could have succeeded".

After being brought out of the cave, one by one beginning on Sunday, they were taken by helicopter to a hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, about 70 km (45 miles) away, to stay in quarantine. They were given a tranquilliser to keep them calm throughout the process.

The soccer team-which went from missing, to found, to trapped, to partially rescued, to mission accomplished-captivated a global audience throughout every step. When divers reached them later, they brought additional food, water and blankets.

His role was to carry the boys on a stretcher through the end of the dive zone out of the cave.

Divers who took part in the operation said the boys were heavily sedated to avoid anxiety as they went through the dark, narrow, underwater passageways.

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