By: Paul Toohey of Daily Telegraph
The 18-day ordeal, which at times teetered between grief and elation, has ended in extraordinary success, with Thailand celebrating and thanking the world for its prayers and assistance.
“We are all delighted,” rescue chief, Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said, hours after the team — who were soon followed by Australian anaesthetist Richard Harris and three Thai Navy SEALs — emerged securely.
“We have done things we never thought we could do. I’m proud we could complete the mission impossible.”
“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 Thai Navy SEALs wrote on their Facebook page. “Everyone is safe.”
Australian doctor, Richard Harris, an expert diver, was on the ledge deep within the cave system giving each group of boys final checks before their journeys over the last three days, administering a mild sedative to each of them so none would panic during the swim.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier confirmed that the boys had been given calming medicine “so the children won’t panic, just like we take anti-allergy so we feel OK and are not excited”.
The boys wore wetsuits and full-face masks, meaning they did not need to make any effort breathing as they were swum and guided, relaxed and virtually inert, by pairs of divers through flooded chambers.