Eighteen days ago, a Thai soccer team, comprised of 12 athletes aged 11 to 16 and a coach, became trapped in a cave after a Monsoon hit and resulting flood waters cut off the exit.

As the Associated Press reports, on June 23, following a morning practice, the youth soccer team and their 25-year-old coach took a bike ride to the Tham Luang Nang Non cave to explore.

After the team failed to return home later that night and their parents were unable to contact them, authorities were notified. Following an intense, eight day long search, the AP reports that two expert cave divers located the missing boys and their coach.

All of them were alive and alert.

On July 4, seven Navy SEALs and a doctor entered the cave to give the boys and their coach food and medicine. They also taught the group how to scuba dive.

Four days later, on July 8, officials declared it “D-Day” and began extracting the team in groups of four. According to CBS News, the rescuers said they escorted the strongest members of the team out first.

They explained that they wanted “the boys who have the best chance of surviving [to] get through the escape route first.”

Now, all 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach have been successfully rescued from the cave.

The official Facebook page of the Thai Navy SEALs posted this message just before the last group was rescued:

Today is 10 July. It will be longer than previous ones. We will celebrate together finally. Hooyah!

The condition of the boys rescued on Tuesday remains unclear, however, officials revealed that “the eight previously rescued are in relatively good health” and are being observed at a local hospital.

According to CNN, when the first group emerged from the cave they had very low body temperatures. Two were believed to have lung inflammation.

The parents of the boys have not yet been able to come in contact with their children. As CNN reports, the boys must first be rid of any infection before their parents are allowed to enter their room.

The parents have been able to interact with their sons through a glass window and talk with them on the phone.

All of the boys are expected to spend close to a week in the hospital so that their weakened immune systems can be monitored closely.

President Trump took to Twitter to congratulate the rescue team on a successful mission:

He wrote:

On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand. Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!

The rescue operation will be labeled complete as soon as the doctor and the three Navy SEALs successfully exit the cave. 

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After Being Trapped in a Cave for 18 Days, All Members of the Thai Soccer Team Have Been Rescued

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