Twelve young footballers and their assistant coach survived being trapped for 10 days in Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai by minimizing their movements and drinking water that dripped from limestone.
A rescuer, Supat Khamsueb, said on his Facebook wall that he monitored radio conversations between Navy Seal troops and the trapped boys.
He said the Navy Seal rescuers asked the boys how they survived and they replied that they tried to lie still and drank water that dripped through the limestone in the cave.
Meanwhile, families of the 13 victims burst with joy Monday night upon learning that 10-day-long rescue operations at the Tham Luang Cave have finally been successful.
I am so glad that I cannot think of anything else,” an uncle of a 13-year-old football player of Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai said.
Despite the success of the operation, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said there were still challenges ahead in bringing them out of the flooded cave.
The governor said the initial estimates of the health of the team members showed they were fine.
“From the video clip shot when the British divers found the boys, they looked exhausted given the fact that they were there without food and water for many days. If we had to choose between green as the best, yellow, and red the worst, they look to be green,” Narongsak said.
It is reported that 16 Navy SEAL divers have been sent to the location, called Nern Nom Sao slope, to stay with the boys to keep tabs on their health and prepare them for evacuation.
The divers took some special food such as power gel and water for them. Narongsak said the process to prepare the boys for evacuation will take a few days and the best way is still being considered.
“They will be taken out of the cave, when it is safe enough. The challenge now will be to bring them out safely, as rising water and mud are impeding access.”
Meanwhile, other efforts to access the cave such as through drilling, and finding alternative passages, as well as draining water out of the cave, will continue.
The governor thanked both Thai and international volunteers for their dedication in this operation, which he had earlier described as mission impossible.
He praised and gave credit to two British cave diving experts who found the missing team. He did not mention the names but they are understood to be John Volanthen and Richard Stanton.
He appreciated the personnel and equipment support received from the US, the UK, China, Russia, Belgium, Japan, Laos and Israel. “The crucial factors that made this operation a success were the well organised cooperation and management,” he said.