Thai boys recovering well after "largest, most complex cave rescue in history"

The boys lost an average of 2kg during their ordeal

Thai boys recovering well after "largest, most complex cave rescue in history"

A Thai well wisher puts a poster to pray for boys and their soccer coach ahead of their rescue, 09-07-2018. Image: Sakchai Lalit/AP/Press Association Images

An Irish based cave diver was part of the international team who helped rescue 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave complex in Thailand yesterday.

Jim Warny from Belgium is a member of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation and lives in Ennis in County Clare.

He flew out to assist in the mission on Friday after an appeal from Thai authorities.

The group was trapped in the cave for more than two weeks.

They are now being mentally and physically assessed in hospital. Officials have said they lost an average of 2kg in weight during their ordeal.

They are set to remain in hospital at the nearby city of Chiang Rai for about a week.

The operation has been labelled the “the largest, most complex cave rescue in history” involving leading divers from all over the world.


Moments after it was completed, Thailand's navy SEALs - who played a central part in the rescue effort - wrote on their Facebook page: "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what."

Eight boys were brought out in two expeditions on Sunday and Monday, leaving a further four and their football coach to make the perilous journey back to the entrance yesterday.

Just before 1pm Irish time, the Thai SEALs announced that all 12 ‘Wild Boars’ and their coach had been brought to safety.

Later three SEALs and a doctor who had been tending to the group within the cave also came out safely.

The group thanked people from all over the world who had contributed to the rescue effort, noting “today, the united force of humanity is at work.”

“The world will never forget this rescue mission - “Operation Bring The Wild Boars Home,” they said.

Once the 18-day ordeal was over, the acting governor of Chiang Rai province Narongsak Osatana said: "We did something nobody thought possible."

"I am so happy, I may not be able to thank everyone," he said.


Payap Maiming, who helped provide food and necessities for rescue workers and journalists, was not in doubt, however.

"It's really a miracle," she said. "It's hope and faith that has brought us this success."

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach are now being assessed in hospital.

There are concerns they may have consumed contaminated water, while bird or bat droppings could cause infections.

The four boys who were rescued first are reportedly doing well and are now “up and about."

Two of the boys are being treated for "suspected lung problems.”

The group is going to be kept in isolation for up to a week and while their parents have been able to visit them, they have been kept separate using glass screens.

"Human endurance"

Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, said the boys were given anti-anxiety medication to help with their rescue.

US President Donald Trump also tweeted his congratulations, describing the emergence of the last four boys and their coach as "such a beautiful moment."

The Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the mission as “a fantastic story of human endurance” and welcomed “such a positive outcome.”

The Tham Luang cave system will now be closed for some time, prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said.

He has also pledged to increase security to make it safer, with a view to developing it into a tourist destination following its worldwide exposure.

With reporting from IRN ...