The Thai cave rescue saga ended on a high note, with all twelve boys and their coach now freed from the flooded Tham Luang caves in the northern parts of the country. Three days of perilous diving operations and round-the-clock pumping of water ended with the whole football team rescued and the treacherous cave now empty.
Monday, July 9, also marked the 18th day since the 12 boys and their coach ventured into the caves on a team bonding exercise, as the Independent pointed out. Their whole ordeal, as well as the heroic efforts exerted to free them from the caves that trapped them with the onset of sudden floods, has been followed by many around the world.
It was a story that captured the whole world starting from before the miraculous moment that professional divers found them alive and well despite nine days of being trapped in the dark and cold.
"I never imagined this could happen – but we did it. We completed mission impossible," Narongsak Osatanaskorn, the former governor who has led the rescue, announced that the rescue was complete at 9:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday, July 10.
The last phase of the mission started following the rescue of eight of the boys from the cave, as the rescue team raced against time. Just like the first two phases, a team of 90 expert divers worked together to ferry the boys through each of the flooded sections of the cave.
One diver would serve as a guide for the boy, holding the child through the dark and muddy waters while also carrying both their air bottles. The children used full face masks, which are notably easier to use for novice divers.
A dive line serves as a guide for all divers, secured by another rescue team member trailing the child nearby. They then rested for a bit before walking out the entrance, where they were given a short examination before being taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai.