Parents wait to hug sons as details of risky Thai rescue emerge

ASSOCIATED PRESS           A helicopter believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave lands in Chiang Rai on Tuesday

After 18 days, Thai Navy SEALS, government officials, and countless private companies helped orchestrate a rescue that brought each of the trapped soccer players and their coach to safety.

Even before all 13 people had been brought out, USA studio Pure Flix - which makes inspirational Christian films - had announced its producers were on the ground interviewing rescue workers for a potential film.

Richard Stanton, one of a pair of British caving experts who located the "Wild Boars" team, gave reporters Friday a first-hand account of the moment he saw the boys emerge from behind a rock face onto a muddy ledge kilometres (miles) inside the Tham Luang cave.

Another diver, Jason Mallinson, 50, from Huddersfield, said the team left messages for the children as they flew back to the United Kingdom saying: "We're very glad we could get you out alive".

"Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers".

The boys were reportedly sedated though there have been conflicting reports about the kind of medicine they received, with some saying they got anti-anxiety medication to keep them calm while Peeranarong said some of them had been fully sedated.

When news arrived after nine days that all twelve boys and the coach had been found, his mother said: "Thank you to God". A rescue volunteer, former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan, died during the operation when he ran out of oxygen.

The first boys rescued on Sunday have been allowed to see their relatives through a glass partition and speak to them on a telephone line. They were cut off on June 23 after heavy rains flooded the cave complex.

Then, with the final divers slowly exiting the cave on Tuesday, the pumps suddenly failed pushing the water level up towards head height in a previously wadeable section of the cave.

Retired Coventry firefighter Rick Stanton, 56, said: 'It seems to have lifted the whole country. "This mission was successful because of cooperation from everyone", he said.

The new video from the navy does not include footage of the divers in the water with the boys, but it does show a team of people using pulleys, string and rubber tubes to haul a green, kayak-shaped stretcher out of a tight crevice.

The exact mechanics of the rescue bid were closely guarded during the operation, but details have since dribbled out.

"Dr Harry, the Australian doctor, he's very good, he's got a very good bedside manner", said Mr Volanthen.

It was the sudden onset of that rainy season that trapped the boys deep underground while they were exploring. That ultimately proved not to be an option when oxygen levels within the tunnels dropped to unsafe levels.

"Of course there were doubts but I knew we had a good team with good support from the Thai authorities and national caving community and rescue organisations, so I knew we had the best that we could do to make a plan work", he added.

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