Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

The boys won’t attend the World Cup final. Pic AAPMore

On Wednesday video showed the boys recuperating in an isolation ward in hospital, chatting to each other and making two-finger victory signs while their parents waved to them through a glass window.

One of the divers who helped to save 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand played down his heroics as he returned to Britain.

"We are humbled to have been able to provide our expertise and experience to assist in this global operation led by the Thai government", they said in a statement on Thursday.

Four Thai Navy Seals are seen after leaving the cave safe during the rescue mission, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand July 10, 2018 in this photo obtained from social media. "I have to praise the coach who took care of the footballers very well", Lertvirairatanapong said.

"This area will become a living museum, to show how the operation unfolded", the head of rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference on Wednesday.

Initially, authorities thought they faced a reasonably easy task in getting the boy outs, but rescue efforts were quickly thwarted by rain and rising water levels inside the partially flooded passageways.

Adisak Wongsukchan told Al Jazeera he gave his 14-year-old son Nong Bew a big thumbs up when he first saw him in hospital.

The first footage of the Thai boys in hospital has been released.

A day earlier, Valeepoan posted a picture of her hand clasping that of her husband. "The world will not forget his kindness and all he did to save those boys".

At a school opposite the hospital in Chiang Rai where the boys are recovering, schoolchildren were in an excited, celebratory mood.

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"If you can imagine being physically and mentally exhausted going through a rescue and having to deal with that, when you're at your lowest ebb, you've given it all and then you find out the sad news about your father, who's your best mate - that's really, really tough", Pearce said.

"By the time the last diver was out the water was already at head level, nearly to the point where he needed an oxygen tank".

Scott's wife has been involved with planning the funeral for Saman Kunan, the former SEAL that died on July 6 while helping install oxygen tanks in preparation for the extraction. But Valeepoan absolved them of responsibility.

"I want to tell the boys, please don't blame yourselves", Valeepoan told reporters.

Many are from nomadic hill tribes and other ethnic groups who have for centuries lived around Mae Sai, the heart of the "Golden Triangle" - a lawless wedge of land bisecting Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China.

The IT tech said that the divers were not heroes and directed attention to the rest of his team and the Thai Navy Seals.

"Hooyah!" Apakorn shouted before flying out, using a morale-building navy term.

The boys are being quarantined while they recover from their ordeal.

But the mission, which leaned on the expertise of elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs, almost turned into a calamity. The boys were held close to divers and remained motionless for parts of the journey where they had to dive.

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