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They returned to their base on the Gulf of Thailand where they received a hero's welcome, and took time to remember the former Thai Navy SEAL who died while volunteering on the rescue.

The last group of the 12-member "Wild Boars" soccer team and their coach was brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday night, safely ending a unsafe rescue and evoking global relief and joy. Their discovery immediately prompted discussions on how to get them out, with initial reports suggesting that the safest way to rescue the team was to wait out the rainy season, which lasts until October, and guide them out once the flooded tunnels had dried.

They said: "Thank you to God who helps us to see our son very soon".

A video of the boys in hospital was shown at the news conference.

Rescuers freed the last four boys and their adult coach from the deep flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai on Tuesday, and already Pure Flix and Ivanhoe Pictures and have publicly stated their intention of telling the riveting tale.

"Don't need to worry about their physical health and even more so for their mental health", said Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital. They survived the nine days before they were found by drinking water dripping from the cave walls, officials said.

They were also seen sitting cheerfully in their hospital beds, where they are being kept in isolation until doctors are sure they did not pick up any diseases during more than two weeks in the dark. Authorities are anxious about the possibility of infections picked up in the cave.

Junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said the boys had been given a "minor tranquilliser" to prevent anxiety during the complex extraction bid. One of the boys lies on it covered in a metallic, reflective material. "The best way is not to bother them and let them study". Seasonal monsoon rains flooded the vast cave complex unexpectedly and cut off their exit route.

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Finally, on July 2, the boys aged between 11 and 16 were found by British divers around four kilometres inside the cave.

On Wednesday night, provincial governor and rescue commander, Narongsak Osatanakorn, appeared to imply in a public address that citizenship is a possibility for the four.

He said he had "no idea" how long it would take, adding that "it depends on whether we find the documents". And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday. "For SEALs, this is what we were trained for. Many, many people. We are the first".

Officials plan to rejuvenate the Forest Park and establish a museum to highlight the rescue of the Wild Boars football team.

But Mr Volanthen credited the worldwide team of military, navy and civilian divers who all "pulled together".

"Hooyah! Mission accomplished", read one headline, echoing the rallying cry of the SEAL unit. That means they will not be accepting Fifa's invitation to Sunday's World Cup final in Russian Federation.

The Nation newspaper called the operation a "Triumph of global cooperation" on its front page Thursday while the Bangkok Post published a collage of images of those involved under the heading "You Are Heroes".

England defender Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Jack Butland have offered to send gifts to the Thai boys.


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