Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Thai cave rescue site to become a museum

Thai cave rescue site to become a museum

Thailand is to give full citizenship to three of the rescued boys and their football coach, whose position as refugees has left them stateless.

A daring rescue mission in the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in northern Thailand has saved all 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped deep within the labyrinth, ending a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced volunteer diver and riveted people around the world.

On Wednesday a few hundred Thai schoolchildren gathered opposite the hospital, looking up at the building that will be home to the rescued football team for the coming days.

"We had to set up rope systems and high-lines to be able to safely put them in a harness and bring them across large open areas so they wouldn't have to go all the way down", he said. "Our department had a..."

The last three Thai Navy Seals and a doctor emerged from the cave complex hours after the last boy was out.

People magazine was granted a sneak peak of ABC News' 20/20 special edition where they discovered one of the boys' mates was holding a vigil by keeping his trapped friend's school seat warm.

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Each boy was accompanied underwater by two divers carrying their oxygen tanks for them, and guiding them through the murky tunnels. In a video shown at a press briefing, some of the parents were in tears as they looked through the glass at their children, reported CNN.

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.

He also paid a tribute to former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died last week during the rescue mission.

The eventual rescue of all 12 boys from the Tham Luang cave prompted global joy.

One of the American rescue specialists involved in the mission, Derek Anderson, 32, said the boys and their coach had been "incredibly resilient. and discussed staying strong, having the will to live, having the will to survive".

"The world just needs to know that what was accomplished was a once in a lifetime rescue that I think has never been done before", Master Sergeant Anderson said.

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Meanwhile, reports say the boys and the coach were sedated to stop them panicking during the risky rescue.

The rescue sparked jubilation with Thais heaping praise on the rescue team of foreign and local divers as the triumphant tagline "Hooyah" pinballed across social media.

Narongsak Osatanakorn, the official overseeing the rescue operation, said the boys should not be blamed for the near tragedy.

Here are some of the heroes who took part in the rescue mission.

The group became trapped in rising floodwaters and were found nine days later emaciated and disheveled on a muddy ledge, with water lapping ominously below.

1 NEWS' Correspondent Kimberlee Downs from Chiang Rai, Thailand, following the successful completion of the rescue.

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