Thailand cave rescue: Brit divers who found boys 'deserve George Cross'

Ekapol Chantawong with Wild Boars players

The hospital treating 12 Thai school children rescued from a flooded cave has released the first video showing the boys since they were saved.

Chanthawong had taken the boys about 2.5 miles into the cave after a soccer game on June 23 as part of an initiation ritual which would see them write their names on the cave walls.

"We would be honoured to welcome the team from the Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season". They got far enough inside that rising floodwaters, not unusual at the cave this time of year, blocked their exit.

The first footage of the Thai boys in hospital has been released.

"The area will become a living museum, to show how to operation unfolded", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the former governor and head of the rescue mission, told a news conference.

"What was really important was the coach and the boys all came together and discussed staying strong, having the will to live, having the will to survive", Anderson said.

"That is important so these children can reintegrate little by little into their old environment, because they will be very traumatised and vulnerable". He praised the cooperation between Thai and worldwide rescuers.

Described in a South Australia Ambulance Service statement as a "quiet and kind man" who "didn't think twice about offering his support on this mission", Harris was lauded for his work throughout the rescue effort.

One of the Thai boys is seen being stretchered out of the cave on Tuesday night.

The four boys rescued Sunday have normal heart rates and no fever, and the two of them with lung infections are improving, said Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry.

The doctor said three of the boys were being treated for minor cases of pneumonia, but predicted most would be discharged after about a week.

"The 13 must have taken cared of each other very well [inside the cave]", Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong said.

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The boys lost on average 2kg during their ordeal but are said to be in good physical condition.

He also paid tribute to Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise successful operation.

But it will still be up to a week before all of the boys can hug their mums and dads. Some of them, wearing surgical masks, lay on their beds. They are being monitored for infections and potentially deadly diseases they could have picked up in the cave complex.

The group were taken out in three batches by a team of 13 worldwide divers flanked by the Thai Navy SEALs, who greeted each successful rescue with a "Hooyah" on their Facebook page. "I want to say thanks to those who rescued my boy".

It's emerged three of the trapped football players, as well as their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, are stateless ethnic minorities.

Brainy Adul Sam-on speaks five languages, allowing him to translate for the rescue divers.

It was Adul, the stateless descendant of a Wa ethnic tribal branch once known for headhunting, who played a critical role in the rescue, acting as interpreter for the British divers.

The boys won't attend the World Cup final.

"Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely", Walker said.

"We will also collect all equipment used in this operation".

"It's suggested that we might display photos during the 17 days of the mission, including clothes that the foreman in each operation wore on that day".

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