They got stuck when exploring the cave complex after soccer practice and a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels. They were found by a pair of British divers almost 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, smiling with relief but visibly skinny.
In a day of high drama, the remaining five boys emerged in groups as evening approached, guided out by worldwide divers and the Seals, who have played an integral role throughout an unprecedented rescue mission.
The Thai Navy Seals also released new video showing the three-day rescue operation that captivated the world.
The ninth boy was carried from the cave on a stretcher shortly AFTER 11:00 SAST, Reuters and CNN reported.
Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food.
The ups and downs of the rescue bid have entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing comments of support from celebrities as varied as US President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk.
All 12 boys trapped underground in Thailand have been rescued following the "largest, most complex cave rescue in history".
Parents of the second group of boys, those rescued Monday, will be allowed to make similar visits later today, according to the Health Department's deputy chief.
There are concerns they may have consumed contaminated water, while bird or bat droppings could cause infections.
Throughout the process, Musk has entertained the possibility that the sub won't be of any use, but has said that they will leave it with Thai authorities regardless in case it can be useful in a "future situation".
With oxygen levels in their chamber falling to unsafe levels and monsoon rains threatening to flood the cave up above the ledge where the boys were sheltering, rescuers decided on the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the tunnels. "There was only a tiny bit of hope, but that's all we had to work with".
"My wife actually grew up with the Thai Navy SEAL that died in the cave".
The video released by the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, located in Thailand's Chiang Rai province, shows the boys lying and sitting in an isolation ward while wearing face masks and hospital gowns.
The conditions in Thailand were "extreme", he said, adding: "If any people could execute this rescue successfully, it was our team of British divers".
Two of the first group had a lung infection as well, and Thongchai said they would need medicine for seven days.
Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions, which took up to 11 hours.
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