Cave mission officially accomplished

Cave mission officially accomplished

Search and rescue coordinator Narongsak Osotthanakorn (centre) announces that all 12 boys and their coach have been safely brought out from the cave. At a press conference at the Pong Pha tambon administration organisation near the cave in Mae Sai district, he began by expressing gratitude for great support from His Majesty the King and the royal family. (AFP photo)
Search and rescue coordinator Narongsak Osotthanakorn (centre) announces that all 12 boys and their coach have been safely brought out from the cave. At a press conference at the Pong Pha tambon administration organisation near the cave in Mae Sai district, he began by expressing gratitude for great support from His Majesty the King and the royal family. (AFP photo)

MAE SAI, Chiang Rai: The chief of the Tham Luang mission officially announced Tuesday night that the rescue of all 13 people trapped in a cave was accomplished and the restoration of the area would follow.

Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osotthanakorn told a press conference at the Pong Pha tambon administration organisation near Tham Luang cave at about 9.30pm that the last group of five trapped people was extracted and a doctor and three divers who had been with the 13 people since their discovery already reached the main entrance of the cave.

"The promise this morning that the nine people would leave the cave has fulfilled," Mr Narongsak said to a big applause.

He said Tuesday's extraction mission involved about 100 people including 12 divers and an Australian doctor. All the five trapped people extracted Tuesday were already at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital for examination and treatments. Their families were able to see them through glass windows at the hospital right away.

Mr Narongsak and other senior officials in the mission expressed gratitude towards His Majesty the King and the royal family; local and international rescue personnel, relevant organisations, volunteers and local and international supporters for the success. They also thanked the media for their cooperation to facilitate the rescue.

About 10,000 people had worked efficiently and effectively in the rescue mission over 17 days, Mr Narongsak said.

He and Jongkhlai Worapongsathon, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, also called late Petty Officer 1st class Saman Gunan, who died in the rescue mission a "Tham Luang hero".

"We have done what no one expected we could... The mission is successful thanks to the power of love. I would like to see the love and cooperation over the past 17 days continue for the sake of national development," he said.

Lessons would be drawn from the incident so that children would know how to save themselves while being on tours and future rescue missions would be effective under such circumstances, he said.

All organisations taking part in the rescue mission would elaborate on their rescue operations in another press conference at the same place Wednesday night, Mr Narongsak said.

Twelve local footballers aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old coach had visited Tham Luang cave in the Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district after their regular practice on June 23. Flooding in the cave had trapped them since. Rescuers found them deep in the cave on July 2.


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