Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Rescued Thai football team unable to attend World Cup final

Rescued Thai football team unable to attend World Cup final

What followed was a massive search-and-rescue operation involving hundreds of divers and volunteers, who finally spotted the boys and their coach 10 days after they went missing.

On Sunday, officials decided they could no longer wait, saying conditions were "as flawless as they will be" for a rescue attempt.

The children, aged 11 to 16, and their coach, 25-year-old Ekapol Chanthawong, are now being treated at a hospital in the nearby city Chiang Mai.

Three members of the SEAL unit and an army doctor, who has stayed with the boys since they were found, were the last people due to come out of the cave, the unit said. The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday are in good health overall, though two are suffering from pneumonia, according to hospital staff cited by AP.

Thai Cave Rescue Operation Is Underway
"Twelve Wild Boars [team members] and their coach are out of the cave", the Thai Navy SEALs said on Facebook on Tuesday. Medical officials told reporters that they're healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and "seem to be in high spirits".

On June 23, the Wild Boar soccer team ventured into Tham Luang cave, one of Thailand's longest and toughest to explore, during heavy rains after soccer practice.The cave system is located about 825 kilometres north of Bangkok. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out". The rescue effort is slowed somewhat by the fact that the team must replenish supplies and oxygen tanks that line the 2.5-mile route out of the cave.

There are concerns they may have consumed contaminated water, while bird or bat droppings could cause infections. The boys and their coach have to spend time in isolation to protect against the spread of any possible infections they may have contracted while in the cave.

Thailand's navy SEALs say the four boys and coach rescued on Tuesday, after other rescues in the previous two days, are all safe.

Videos of the boys shortly after they were found showed them looking frail, thin and exhausted.

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Narongsak said the rescued boys had not been identified out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped.

WATCH: Global's Eric Sorensen takes a look at how a boys soccer team and their coach became trapped in a cave in Thailand. "Such a handsome moment - all freed, great job!" he wrote.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was scheduled to make a second visit to the scene late on Monday and the president of soccer's governing body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino, today invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out of the cave in time.

A message posted on the English Premier League club's Twitter account said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected".

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They are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars. Four more, plus the coach, are set to be brought out Tuesday.

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