CHIANG RAI: All 12 boys and the football coach who had been stranded in the Thai cave have been rescued, Thai Navy SEALS have said. The "Wild Boars" soccer team and their coach got trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.
Eight of the boys were brought out on stretchers over the first two days - four on Sunday and four on Monday. The rescuers have been learning from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out on Monday.
The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday were in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said. Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.
They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.
People across Thailand, and the world, have cheered the rescue operation, including at the Mae Sai Prasitsart school where six of the trapped boys are students.
Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a "kid-sized" submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand`s interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said. Musk said on Twitter: "Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids` soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future."