Thai cave rescue: Tearful reunion as parents catch first glimpse of boys

Lester Mason
July 13, 2018

"I'm happy that the boys are out too", said Khamluh Guntawong, the grandfather of team coach Ekkapol Chantawong.

He added that the team would be working to support Harris and his family, and requested they be given time and space to grieve.

Charoenpol said Ek would be warmly welcomed back into the community when he left hospital. "The coach was the one to choose", he said.

"The first thing I want to do is hug him,"he said."All parents have the same feeling". And helped him to have a new life, it's like a rebirth.

Despite the ordeal, the boys seem to be in fairly good shape, according to Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand's health department. "I love you like you are my very heart ... from now on when I wake up ... who will I kiss?" "They are children being children, it was an accident", he said.

Doctors treating the 12 boys and their coach who survived their misadventure said their health is normal, although a few have low fevers and mild ear infections.

"He would have been the ideal person to support them".

All are now recovering in hospital after the ordeal.

The final four boys who were rescued from a Thai cave on Tuesday night still can't talk.

At the start of the seven-minute video, posted on Facebook just a day after the last of the 13 members of the group were successfully escorted out of the cave, two divers are seen adjusting their equipment while standing chest-deep in murky water.

The saga captivated a global audience for more than two weeks, rewarding them with a remarkable happy ending.

There was a celebratory mood at the cave entrance, hours after the rescue ended. Relatively mild weather and a massive effort to pump out water created a window of opportunity.

Contrary to the idea that the children would swim out, they appear to be motionless in the video as they are passed along a chain of rescuers including Thai navy personnel and volunteers from around the world. And an Ohio State University graduate played a key role in the team's successful rescue.

But relief and celebration were suddenly cut short by personal tragedy - on Wednesday it emerged that Dr Harris's father had died shortly after the rescue's finish.

"We will sing a song for him", she said.

Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn lauded the cooperation between Thai and global rescuers.

"Wild Boars, keep fighting!" they chanted.

The rescue began on Sunday, when four boys were extracted.

"By the time the last diver was out, the water was already at head level, nearly to the point where he needed an oxygen tank". Lit by several beams of white light, the divers in wet suits and helmets are seen submerging themselves in the water and grabbing on to a metal dive line used to guide them through the winding channels of the six-mile cave.

John Volanthen returned to his home country after helping rescue the 12 boys.

Questions will remain as to why the team, led by their 25-year-old coach, went into the caves during the rainy season - it is common knowledge that it is a unsafe time to enter, and signs at the entrance specifically warn of the dangers of monsoon rains.

The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23 when monsoon rains filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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