Thailand promises citizenship to three rescued boys and coach

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Members of the Wild Boars soccer team, ranging in age from 11 to 16, entered the cave with their coach during dry weather.

Soldiers walk after 12 soccer players and their coach were rescued near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 10, 2018.

They were taken by helicopter to a hospital about 70 km (45 miles) away to join their team mates in quarantine for the time being.

One of the men most responsible for the success of the rescue is Australian anaesthetist and underwater cave explorer Richard Harris, who was part of the 20-strong Australian rescue contingent. "We couldn't cope and we were adults", Urzua told Reuters. "You have to ensure when you go in you have a way out", Anderson said. The navy has a motto: 'We don't abandon the people'. Medical experts consider 12 percent a critically low level.

Thai navy SEALs posted a almost six-minute video on their Facebook page that shows rescue workers pass along green stretchers in which the boys were being transported.

Brown was impressed by the rigour of the planning by the Thai military. "I'm so happy he's safe". "Be good people, be a force for good for your country", Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew, commander of Thailand's navy SEALS unit, said in a message to them before boarding a flight from Chiang Rai.

Saman's death, the only casualty in the operation, was widely mourned.

Ekkapol Chantawong, Phonchai Khamluang, and Adul Sam-on, three survivors from the Tham Luang cave, are among 500,000 stateless persons in Thailand who have to endure limitations in many aspects of their life as they are denied some rights and opportunities.

In the cavern, one-by-one, the boys were fitted with 5mm-thick wetsuits and full-face scuba masks.

"But it was what they faced, and what they had to do in there, which was extraordinary".

After nearly three weeks trapped in the dark, away from their loved ones in a cave in northern Thailand, the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were allowed to see their relatives in a carefully controlled environment, as doctors are still concerned about their health. "Any time you film in water it's expensive".

A Thai navy SEAL diver told AFP news agency the boys were sleeping or partially conscious as they were carried out of the cave. The diving was over by this point, but still the way ahead was hard.

"When they came out of the water they were put on a stretcher, their oxygen was changed and the first aid guys checked them over. This story has meant so much to me as I have followed it in Thailand this summer", he said in a video posted on the microblogging site.

"Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers".

There is still some uncertainty about the degree to which the boys were sedated before being escorted out.

The Thai rescue may also draw interest from TV networks, which could provide a quicker path to the screen.

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