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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Thai cave rescue: all players and coach rescued on third day - as it happened

Rescuers extracted all the 'Wild Boars' and their coach from the flooded cave system, on the third day of mission

  • Mission on third day extracted remaining four members of football team and their coach from a cave in northern Thailand
  • All 12 of the 'Wild Boars' football team and their coach reported saved in three days of rescue; all taken to hospital
  • All the boys are in good health, but are in quarantine to avoid any infection

Read more: Everything we know about the Thai cave rescue | How an international coalition pulled off 'mission impossible' | Editorial: Global support for Thai boys is inspiring | Recap Day 2 updates | All updates in UAE time (UTC+4)

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19:20 'Wild Boars' get Manchester United invitation

On hearing of the successful rescue of the "Wild Boars" team, Manchester United invited the boys to Old Trafford next season.

The English Premier League football club extended a similar invitation to the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.

Manchester United gave the miners a United shirt with their names on the back, plus the number reflecting when they were lifted out of the mine.

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19:00 Operation chief declares 'mission accomplished'

Mission chief, and governor of Chiang Rai, Narongsak Osottanakorn announced to cheers and applause "mission accomplished," upon the safe return of the final Navy Seals.

Narongsak said the army had sent more than 1,000 personnel to assist in the operation to save the "Wild Boars" academy team. The rescue chief also applauded the co-operation shown both by Thai forces and international assistance.

The governor of Chiang Rai was once quoted saying that finding the boys was "mission impossible", but today he declared that with co-operation, the rescue became "mission possible".

One Army chief said "I don't have much to say ... I'm just delighted."

Rescue leaders paid tribute to former Navy Seal Saman Gunan, who died during an operation on July 6.

The panel also told international media they plan to turn the cave into a tourist attraction.

The Thai Navy Seals posted a picture on Facebook showing the final four Seals in the mouth of the cave.

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16:50 World leaders welcome the news of the successful operation

British Prime Minister Theresa May, United States President Donald Trump, and the Spanish royal family have all welcomed the news of the successful rescue mission.

The Spanish royal family also paid tribute to a Spanish diver who helped in the rescue, as well as Sanan Gunan, the Thai Navy Seal who died last week.

Elon Musk, who sent teams from SpaceX and The Boring Company to build an escape pod, but which was later deemed impractical, also tweeted his congratulations.

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16:20 Disbelief and celebrations as all 12 boys and their coach leave the cave

After 18 days underground, the last four boys and their assistant coach have left the Tham Luang cave system in northern Thailand.

In an emotional post on their Facebook page, the Thai Navy Seals, who led the daring rescue operation, expressed their relief at the success of the mission.

"We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave," the Navy Seals posted.

In a separate post on their page, the elite military squad said, "waiting to get the Thai Navy Seal who went to live with 4 other friends. Send some encouragement to them."

The Thai Navy Seals became the focus of global attention as they led the charge to rescue the boys.

Shortly after news of the successful operation broke US president Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations.

Success has not been without a cost. Saman Kunan, a Seal who was ferrying oxygen to the boys, died on July 6 after he did not leave enough air for his return journey.

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15:50 All 12 boys and their coach out of flooded cave system, Thai Navy Seals confirm

All 12 of the "Wild Boars" academy team and their 25-year-old coach have now been rescued from the Tham Luang cave system in northern Thailand, Thai Navy Seals confirm.

Four of the players and their coach have now out, after an extended operation on the third day of the rescue mission.

An Australian doctor, who has been providing medical checks before the boys embarked on their exit, and four Thai Navy Seals are yet to come out of the caves.

The group were stuck in the cave since June 23 and underwent a four-kilometre-long journey to escape.

The four boys and their coach who were rescued today are being taken to Chiang Rai Hospital for medical treatment.

A video from the South Asia correspondent at The Guardian shows footage of cheers and relief as a helicopter carrying one of the boys flies overhead.

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15:45 All 12 boys rescued from the cave, reports say

All of the "Wild Boars" football team have been rescued from the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

The boy's coach and an Australian doctor, Richard Harris - who has been in the cave for three days - as well as the rescue workers, are yet to come out.

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15:10 Final 'Wild Boar' leaves the cave, only coach remains

The final player of the "Wild Boars" youth football team has left the cave, according to reporters at the scene.

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14:15 Eleventh person seen leaving flooded cave

An 11th person has been left the cave, reporters confirm.

Three people have now been rescued from the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand on the third day of the operation.

It is unknown whether they are the remaining boys, their coach or rescue workers.

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13:35 Tenth person leaves cave

A 10th person has been carried out on a stretcher, reporters at the scene confirm.

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13:30 Ninth boy has been rescued, the first of day three

A ninth boy has been rescued from the flooded cave and is being treated in a field hospital at the mouth of the cave, reports say.

An ambulance left the cave compound shortly after 13:00 UAE time, Associated Press reports.

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13:00 Doctors orders bar boys from World Cup final

Eight footballers rescued from the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand are unlikely to be able to take up an offer to attend the World Cup final in Russia, doctors said.

The boys had just finished football training when they went exploring in the cave, and were wearing football shirts when they were found. One wore an England top and the other a Real Madrid strip.

"They can't go, they have to stay in hospital for a while," Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, of the public health ministry, told reporters on Tuesday, when asked about the offer to attend Sunday's match.

"They're likely to watch it on television," Jedsada Chokdamrungsuk, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, said.

Football legends, from Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo to Argentina's Lionel Messi, have offered their best wishes and support to the "Wild Boar" academy players.

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12:30 Two boys suffering from pneumonia - hospital

Two of the boys taken out of the flooded Thai cave have signs of pneumonia but are in a normal state after taking antibiotics, the hospital said.

Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters earlier today that the hospital said all of the boys were in good health and were eating. Some had asked for bread and chocolate spread.

Two of the boys had problems breathing, and some had high white blood cell counts, implying an infection.

Drinking contaminated water or being exposed to bird or bat droppings could lead to dangerous infections, experts said.

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11:30 The world waits for good news, Thailand thanks India

The story of the 12 young footballers trapped in a cave, separated from their parents in the darkness, has captured the hearts of people around the world.

Now eight have been rescued, people are wishing for a safe return of all the boys, their coach and the rescue workers.

Don Pramudwinai, the Thai minister of foreign affairs, thanked India for its well wishes and assistance in the operation to find the boys.

In a letter to Sushma Swaraj, the minister for external affairs thanked India for its support, particularly in the "offer of technical expertise in fluid management".

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How each rescue unfolds

Each of the boys is accompanied by two divers, one at the front, one at the back.

They are led through a predetermined route in the caves, guided by ropes.

Additional oxygen tanks are placed incrementally so the boys and the divers can top up with oxygen along the route.

Ramon Penas / The National
Ramon Penas / The National

There is an expectation that today's operation will take longer than yesterday's. The teams will be extracting one extra person, as well as medical staff and Thai Navy Seals who have been there from the start.

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10:00 Thai Navy Seals: 'We will celebrate together'

Thai Navy Seals have posted an optimistic message on their Facebook page.

"Today is 10 July 2018. It will be longer than previous ones. We will celebrate together! Hooyah!"

The elite diving force's Facebook posts have been popular on social media, particularly the special forces cry of "Hooyah".

Last night they confirmed the rescue of four more boys on their page.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, replied to the post saying, "From everyone at Facebook — your bravery has been amazing and congratulations on the successful rescue of eight Wild Boars. Best of luck as you work to get the remaining four players and their coach to safety."

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09:20 Rescued boys in good health, all to be extracted today

All eight boys who have been rescued so far from the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand are in "good health", the mission chief said this morning.

At least two of the boys rescued on Sunday are being treated for a lung infection, and all of the boys have lost weight. They are all wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from the light.

Narongsak Osottanakorn also told reporters that today's mission began shortly after 7am UAE time, and all four boys, plus their coach, would be rescued.

"We expect that if there is no unusual condition ... the four boys, one coach, the doctor and three Seals who have been with the boys since the first day will come out today," Narongsak said.

Reporters said the press centre burst into applause.

The parents of the first four boys to be rescued were able to see their children through glass windows last night. A quarantine has been in place at the hospital to reduce the risk of infection, meaning parents have not yet been able to reach their children.

Earlier, a Thai public health official said "the kids are footballers so they have high immune systems".

Samples have been sent to Bangkok for testing, and results are expected back within a few days.

Hospital staff watch a press conference in which a Thai public health official reports the eight boys saved so far are in "high spirits" and that have strong immune systems because they are football players. Vincent Thian / AP
Hospital staff watch a press conference in which a Thai public health official reports the eight boys saved so far are in "high spirits" and that have strong immune systems because they are football players. Vincent Thian / AP

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08:30 - Mission resumes

Rescuers have begun the third day of an operation to save four young footballers and their coach trapped in a flooded Thai cave.

Heavy rains threatened an already dangerous escape mission that has led to eight of the boys being extracted in "good health".

The rescued members of the team, aged between 12 and 16, were guided to safety through the twisting, submerged passages of the Tham Luang cave by a team of international expert divers, flanked by Thai Navy Seals.

The emergence of the second batch of four on Monday evening was celebrated with a "Hooyah" by the Thai Seal team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media.

"All eight are in good health, no fever... everyone is in a good mental state," Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said on Tuesday at Chiang Rai hospital, in the clearest update on their condition so far.

The boys underwent X-rays and blood tests. Two who had signs of pneumonia were given antibiotics and are in a "normal state", he said, adding they will all remain under observation in hospital for a week.

The ups and downs of the rescue bid has entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing comments of support from politicians, sports stars and celebrities as varied as United States President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk.

Thailand's junta leader welcomed Mr Musk into the cave complex late on Monday, with the American later tweeting a standing offer of a mini-submarine escape pod to help the remaining five leave the tunnels.

Fresh rains on Tuesday added urgency to the final stages of the treacherous rescue bid, several kilometres inside a mountain and through flooded, tight corridors.

It was unclear what time the rescue effort resumed.

Yesterday, operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters that divers had crafted plans to extract four people at a time.

"If we bring five we have to change the plan," he told reporters late on Monday.

A rescue official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the timings of Tuesday's dives were not yet set.

"But I guarantee they will all be safe," he added, reflecting an increasingly bullish attitude after two successful operations so far.

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Read more

Five left to save in flooded Thai cave

Thai cave rescue: eight boys now saved - day two as it happened

Prayers for Thai boys as rescue mission continues

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Thai authorities said the first four rescued on Sunday have been kept in quarantine until any risk of infection subsides.

Information on the rescue operation, the health of the boys — and their identities — has been tightly guarded by Thai authorities.

But the progress of the rescue, which early on had looked like it could be stalled until after the monsoon season, has brought joy to friends and family of the stricken group.

"I want him to be healthy and come back to study quickly," Phansa Namyee, a classmate of 16-year-old footballer Night said.

"I want to go play with them ... take him to some restaurants and spend time together."

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