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All 12 boys and their coach rescued from Thailand cave
11 July 2018, 04:00 | Myron Mathis
Eight boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand
One of soccer's most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season.
Global rescue teams had worked around the clock after the boys were discovered by British divers, to try to drain the caves enough to rescue them. The 12th boy and his coach were the last of the team to be rescued on Tuesday.
Chiang Rai Gov.Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began at 10.08 a.m. and involves 19 divers.
When asked about his first reaction as he saw the first set of boys who were rescued he admitted that he was "very scared".
Nearly all of the rescued were flown in helicopters, then driven in ambulances to a Chiang Rai hospital. Each operation has taken at least nine hours.
Doctors were being cautious because of the infection risk and were isolating the boys in the hospital.
Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters A Royal Thai Police helicopter carrying rescued schoolboys lands at a military airport in the northern province of Chiang Rai July 8, 2018.
Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry, said Tuesday that the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food.
"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today", said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russian Federation before they were trapped. He added that all of them were generally healthy and in good spirits, thanks to their "high immunity" from playing football. "We wish them all the best for the future".
Federation Internationale de Football Association has invited the team to attend the World Cup final on Sunday, but doctors have said they would need to stay in hospital for at least a week to ensure they are in good health.
The names of the boys rescued have not been revealed out of respect to the relatives of the youngsters who remain trapped inside.
"They are not only the kids of Chiang Rai or the kids of Thailand", she said in English. Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha visited the hospital Monday, and spoke to relatives and hospital workers.
British divers found the group of 13, hungry and huddled in darkness on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
Four ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles arrived at the cave site Tuesday morning as rains hit the region.
Rescuers are racing to remove the remaining five members of the Wild Boar soccer team from the cave before the return of heavy monsoon rains.
Mr Narongsak said: "As all of us said, the main thing is we still need more than 20 hours to get ready".
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