Thai cave survivors unable to attend World Cup final, says FIFA

Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre co-ordinating the rescue operation, told reporters that while he appreciated Musk's offer, the submarine wasn't practical for the cave rescue.

Images of the boys in their uniforms huddled together on a dry slab of rock were shared around the world as Thai officials pondered how to safely get them out. But because it's monsoon season, water continued to steadily flow in.

The rescue mission to extract the boys and their coach from the cave began early Sunday morning and concluded on Tuesday afternoon, after several voyages into the flooded passage. "In a world where we sometimes honour people for the most meaningless reasons, surely it's time we recognised a real-life hero like Richard Harris". All the 13 Wild Boars are now out of the cave.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in the three-day high-stakes operation.

Another four were rescued on Monday and the last four boys and the coach were brought out on Tuesday, prompting rounds of spontaneous applause as ambulances and helicopters passed. "Everyone is in a good mental state", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said before all 13 had been rescued. She says it has felt like the whole world was rooting for the boys. They were also able to talk on the phone.

The second group freed on Monday were aged 12 to 14.

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It could be at least a week before they can be released from the hospital, he said. This mission was successful because we had power.

The escape route was a challenge for even experienced divers.

"We can only see our hands (at a) short distance".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop praised the "extraordinary efforts" of 20 Australians directly involved in the remarkable rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach.

The boys also needed to keep calm throughout the process.

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"All are safe", they added, then signed off with what has become their trademark "Hooyah" that they used to celebrate the successful extractions of the other eight boys over the previous two days.

Officials sourced full-faced oxygen masks small enough to fit the boys, to remove the chances of them falling off during the long arduous journey through the craggy tunnels.

Authorities mulled ideas such as drilling holes into the mountain or waiting months until monsoon rains ended and they could walk out, with the rescue chief at one point dubbing the efforts to save them "Mission Impossible".

Dangerously low levels would have put the boys at risk of hypoxia, a condition that causes altitude sickness.

That's where British divers found them days later, alive and in relatively good health. The most risky part is the first kilometer, during which the divers and boys are required to squeeze through a narrow, flooded channel.

Tragedy has struck the Australian doctor at the heart of the rescue of a young Thai soccer team with the death of his father, soon after his mission was completed.

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