Finally, on Tuesday, the "all-star" team of expert cave divers from at least six countries completed the mission once feared impossible, pulling to safety the last of the 12 young soccer players and their 25-year-old coach from the remote cave where they were marooned for more than two weeks.
Rescue teams walk inside cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, July 2, 2018.
Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded.
An additional four boys were brought out on Monday, and the last four boys and the coach were rescued on Tuesday.
"But of course, they were conscious", he said. I'd like to send out shirts to them!
Though four boys and their coach are still to be saved, American film crews have reportedly traveled to the rescue site in Chiang Rai to begin work on a movie telling the tale of the Wild Boars team, Australian website news.com.au reported.
Schoolmates of the rescued boys are also said to be excited about the prospect of welcoming them back. Musk said the submarine is expected to arrive in Thailand around 11 p.m. Monday, local time.
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Narongsak said the rescued boys had not been identified out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped.
As of press time, the first eight boys to emerge from the cave were in relatively good health but still in hospital. "If I see him, I just want to hug him and tell him that I missed him very much", she said.
"MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" was the term used to describe the complicated rescue operation at the flooded Tham Luang Cave.
The youth soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand will be unable to accept Fifa's invitation to attend the World Cup final.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.
President Trump tweeted his congratulations, describing the emergence of the last four boys and their coach as "such a handsome moment".
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected".
A team of Dutch water specialists from Friesland travelled to Thailand to support the drainage efforts, while Elon Musk left a mini-submarine "made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after [the] kids" soccer team'.