Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Thailand's Tham Luang cave to become museum to showcase boys' rescue

Thailand's Tham Luang cave to become museum to showcase boys' rescue

The first video of the Thai boys rescued from a flooded cave after 17 days was released on Wednesday, showing them smiling and waving from their hospital beds, looking thin but fine after an ordeal that has gripped the world.

"We had a little bit of hope that they might still be alive but we had to do it, we just had to move forward", Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew said.

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 are not heroes. They are the toughest blokes and kids I've ever had the privilege to meet", said Harris on the phone.

One of the British divers said: "I was told the boys were given a dose of ketamine [a horse tranquilliser often used as a recreational drug] to keep them calm".

He's a boy who has already faced significant challenges in his life and overcome them.

Doctors treating the 12 boys and their coach who survived their misadventure said their health is normal, although a few have low fevers and mild ear infections.

Yesterday it emerged Dr Harris had been told his father had passed away shortly after the cave rescue.

Dr Harris was the last person to come out of the cave and is being called a hero.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Narongsak Osottanakorn, 57, now the governor of Chiang Rai, where the caves are located, lived in Columbus from 1985 to 1988.

"(The Australians) have been a big help, especially the doctor", Mr Osotanakorn told 9NEWS reporter Ben Avery.

"We were able to do the job we were asked to do", said the diver, who like most of the divers assiduously avoided the media during the operation in a mission defined by steely resolve.

Thai officials say the fate of the boys and the multinational rescue has put the cave firmly on the map and plans are in place to develop it into a tourist destination.

The parents of the 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team shed tears of relief and joy on Wednesday afternoon (Jul 11) when they visited them at Chiang Rai hospital.

The 12 Wild Boars players and their coach had entered the cave to go exploring June 23.

Australia's hero doctor and his dive partner say the successful rescue of a young Thai soccer team from a flooded cave system "is nearly beyond our imagination". The extensive search-and-rescue operation, which included more than 1,000 people from various nations, has now switched to a treatment process. Three of the five in the last group have fevers that are easing, and three have middle ear infections.

A crowd of supporters gathered to greet a team of divers on Tuesday after they successfully freed a youth soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

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