Aussie hero divers relive Thai cave rescue

Twelve boys and their coach from the 'Wild Boars' soccer team arrive for a press conference for the first time since they were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand last week

The 12 young soccer players rescued from a cave in northern Thailand paid homage Sunday to the former navy SEAL who lost his life in the operation to save them.

The football team entered the cave on June 23, hoping to explore the cavern complex after football practice that day but got trapped inside after a rainy season downpour flooded the passageways.

eNCA brings you exclusive footage showing Thai navy divers several kilometres inside the flooded cave Saturday during their desperate search for the missing boys.

Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day operation which ended July 10 when teams of Thai Navy SEALs and global cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team to safety.

In addition to the severe weight loss and dehydration, numerous young men had also contracted pneumonia, but by the time of publication, most had recovered from their illness according to Thai Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn.

"Laboratory results of all 13 persons are negative for risky infectious diseases, and they will be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible", officials said in a statement.

After more than week trapped in the cold and dark, they finally saw a flash light.

A team of psychiatrists was also on hand to monitor their mental health, the doctor said.

"I don't know how he will cope (with the attention)", said Oui-pan Sompiengjai, 66, grandmother of 16-year-old Pheeraphat Sompiengjai.

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During the mission, volunteer and former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan came into difficulty while installing oxygen tanks along the cave's narrow passages.

Medical workers will continue to look for signs of infections in the team members over the next fortnight, although initial lab results have cleared them.

CHIANG RAI, Thailand-The 12 boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are recovering well and are eager to eat their favorite comfort foods after their expected discharge from a hospital next week.

Harris played a pivotal role in the rescue effort, positioned on the muddy bank in the cave with the boys and their coach, assessing their fitness for the perilous journey back to the outside.

Adul Samon, a stateless 14-year-old sent to Thailand for schooling by his ethnic minority parents across the border in Myanmar, spoke in Thai and then in English: "Hello, I am Adul. They are the toughest blokes and kids I've ever had the privilege to meet", Harris said.

The king's order promoted Saman to lieutenant commander.

Saman was the only fatality in the dramatic operation.

Federation Internationale de Football Association had invited the boys and their coach to attend the final in Moscow, but they cannot go for medical reasons.

The group is now recovering in hospital in Chiang Rai province, near the Myanmar border, around 1,000 kilometres north of Bangkok.

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