Thai ‘Wild Boars’ return to training after teammates’ rescue

Coach Ekapol Chantawong, who has been labelled the

Rescuers pulled off the miraculous life-saving mission despite daunting odds over the course of three dramatic days, successfully completing the operation on Tuesday when the last four boys and their coach were removed from the cave.

"By the time the last diver was out the water was already at head level, nearly to the point where he needed an oxygen tank".

"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.

The 12 Wild Boars players and their coach had entered the cave to go exploring June 23 but monsoon rains filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.

Weenas Srisook, director of the provincial administration registration, said Mae Sai authorities are now reviewing each team member's proof of identity, adding that top ministry officials have ordered they find a way to grant them citizenship within the law.

First images emerge of boys rescued from Thailand cave
The fate of the boys has even resonated as far as Russian Federation , where soccer's World Cup is reaching its final stages. Official help came from Britain, the United States, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, China and Australia, a government document showed.

"I hope one day, in a few years, they will be able to tell their story, because, like ours, it's a story of faith and hope", Urzua told Reuters. The boys have been given health cards, which they will continue to carry for two weeks after they leave the hospital, in order to jot down any issues. "Be good people, be a force for good for your country", Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew, commander of Thailand's navy SEALS unit, said in a message to the boys before boarding a flight from Chiang Rai.

During the mission to save the boys, a former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunam died after volunteering to lend his expertise. It was nice to be a part of that and I would do it again given the option. He was the only casualty of the operation.

The world held its breath over the three days it took to retrieve the Wild Boars.

Closer to home, Chiang Rai locals rejoiced at the odds-upsetting rescue bid. Lit by several beams of white light, the divers in wet suits and helmets are seen submerging themselves in the water and grabbing on to a metal dive line used to guide them through the winding channels of the six-mile cave.

Meanwhile, hero Australian doctor Richard "Harry" Harris has been praised for his efforts in the rescue, labelled an "inspiration" by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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Without him "this mission may not have succeeded", the Thai rescue chief, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told reporters late Wednesday.

The boys had earlier received an invitation to come watch the World Cup final in Russian Federation, but doctors said they could not go as they were still confined to their hospital beds.

"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is nearly beyond our imagination when we first became involved in this operation".

Schnauer said everyone was focused on the task at hand and the particular role they had to play. "They talked to the boys far away from them, about 2 meters [6.5 feet]", Thongchai said.

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