Mission accomplished: Thai soccer boys healthy, rescuers head home

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"I want to tell the guys that I miss them and that I want to hug them", Wild Boars teammate Supaghid Pragaihong told news agency Agence France-Presse. We can't wait for them to be reunited with their families.

The boys were held close to divers and remained motionless for parts of the journey where they had to dive. "You're always welcome to come back anytime".

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

Their rescue was particularly treacherous because the boys, aged 11 to 16, had to swim through tight spaces despite having no previous diving experience.

The last group of the 12-member "Wild Boars" soccer team and their coach was brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday night, safely ending a unsafe rescue and evoking global relief and joy. They got far enough inside that rising floodwaters, not unusual at the cave this time of year, blocked their exit.

"You are very strong", Volanthen told the group.

We are not heroes.

"We were very, very pleased it worked out quite so well. The results speak for themselves", he added.

Volanthen praised the entire global rescue team, which included 90 of the best scuba divers from around the world, for saving the group, who became trapped when monsoon rains struck on June 23 and flooded their exit.

The complex, three-day rescue saw four boys emerge on Sunday, four on Monday, and the final four boys plus their coach on Tuesday.

Two days after 12 boys and their soccer coach disappeared inside a cave complex in Thailand's mountainous north, a team of Thai Royal Navy SEALs headed before sunrise into the pitch-black maze of muddy passages to find them.

"The cave was dry when we arrived, and within an hour and half it had already filled up by 2 to 3 feet and we were being pushed out", said Anderson, the son of missionaries, who was born in Syracuse, New York, and grew up in Ecuador.

Kru told us she was so anxious when she learned Adun was trapped in the cave.

Ewan McGregor, a British missionary in the city of Chiang Rai where the boys are now in hospital, said: "It really is a miracle and a result of prayer and I'm just excited to hear the testimonies of the boys when they're safe and well. So anyone thinking about the story better approach it right and respectfully", he said. "He's got a very good bedside manner".

Narongsak Osatanakorn is the official who oversaw the rescue operation. "So, that seemed to work".

The 127 present and former "Seals" - a nickname given to those attached to the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) - handled the risks and pressure at Tham Luang well, but they still needed to be guided by world-renowned cave divers who also joined the rescue operations.

"It's about the triumphs of individuals and groups of human beings over tragedy", Medavoy said. "It's kind of bittersweet for what's otherwise been an excellent operation".

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