"We fought and were defeated, losing space to the water", Acting Chiang Rai governor and rescue coordinator Narongsak Osatanakorn told the media.
"We have two obstacles: water and time", he said this past Sunday, as rain began to fall across the site near the cave entrance.
On Monday, July 2, nine days after becoming trapped, a group of divers found the boys 600 yards away from Pattaya Beach, an elevated rock mound within the cave system that is oftentimes used by those inside the cave when flooding occurs. The diver who spoke to AFP said the boys were "groggy" but "breathing" when he helped to pull them out, while the BBC reported that according to divers, the boys were "heavily sedated to avoid anxiety".
Each boy was accompanied underwater by two divers carrying their oxygen tanks for them, and guiding them through the murky tunnels.
Journalists celebrate after a news conference near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand.
A Kiwi diver who spent seven hours in the Thai cave helping rescue four boys and their coach has described the tense rescue mission.
"He's a miracle boy", she told us.
The 12 schoolboys and their coach are in a hospital following a three-day rescue operation that concluded on Tuesday.
Previously, Thai authorities had kept details of the incident including how a group of boys, many of whom could not swim and had no diving experience, could navigate the treacherous narrow and submerged passageways of the Tham Luang complex, even with expert diving support.
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People magazine was granted a sneak peak of ABC News' 20/20 special edition where they discovered one of the boys' mates was holding a vigil by keeping his trapped friend's school seat warm. The navy has a motto: 'We don't abandon the people'.
"The world just needs to know that what was accomplished was a once in a lifetime rescue that I think has never been done before", Anderson said.
Brown was impressed by the rigour of the planning by the Thai military.
The remaining team members waited for news that the rescue had succeeded before returning to training on Thursday (July 12) evening, on a field where they are eager to see their friends again soon. Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL volunteering to work on the rescue died Friday while replenishing oxygen canisters placed along the escape route. He was the only casualty of the operation.
But he denied they were knocked out for the miraculous rescue.
In the cavern, one-by-one, the boys were fitted with 5mm-thick wetsuits and full-face scuba masks.
Then, with the final divers slowly exiting the cave on Tuesday, the pumps suddenly failed pushing the water level up towards head height in a previously wadeable section of the cave. None of the children, aged between 11 and 16, were strong swimmers let alone competent divers.
The elite Thai Navy Seals who carried out the rescue. In the video, Volanthen is heard talking to the group, telling them at the time that they had been in the cave for 10 days and that many rescuers were coming to save them.