The boys were still far from being rescued at the time the offer was made and as of yesterday afternoon only eight had been freed as the complex mission entered its final stage. The rescuers faced a complicated and risky diving mission to free the rest of the team and their coach. They were found by a pair of British divers almost 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, smiling but visibly skinny. "We [saw] the death of the ex-Navy SEAL and it [triggered] the point that it means the oxygen level inside the cave was very, very low", she continued. "He's thinner", she said, as she ran her finger over the image of her son on a television screen. The other five on the team were Thai navy SEAL divers. One of the boys lies on it covered in a metallic, reflective material.
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 group ventured into the vast cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after soccer practice on June 23 and were trapped when a rainy season downpour flooded tunnels.
Parents of the second group of boys, those rescued Monday, will be allowed to make similar visits later today, according to the Health Department's deputy chief.
Cave diver Martyn Farr told Sky News that British divers, who located the trapped group, are the "very best divers in this field in the United Kingdom, if not the world". An American military diver added: "Those kids were proper knocked out".
The entire nation was glued to the media coverage of the rescue mission, and Thai authorities insisted they will not compromise on the safety of the trapped group. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (above, at right) thanked worldwide experts who helped find the boys.
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The SEALs commander, Rear Adm. Apakorn Youkongkae, said the soccer coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, determined the order the boys from the Wild Boars soccer team should be rescued in.
"To not receive food, we can still survive for many months, but what's necessary is water, which the cave has, and around this time there's a lot in the cave, and they chose clean water to drink", he said. Rest two including the coach were rescued later in the day.
Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said the boys lost an average of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) while they were trapped. Saman Gunan, a 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL who had come out of retirement to help, died on July 5 from lack of oxygen while trying to place 300 oxygen tanks along the rescue route.
"To see all that heroic bravery in the cave, and to get all the divers out, it's just such a touching event and so personal to me", says Scott, whose wife is of Thai descent. Signalling that he was working on the project, Chu tweeted, "I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!"
Starring Antonio Banderas, the survival drama entitled "The 33" hit the movie theaters in 2015.