"My wife actually grew up with the Thai Navy SEAL that died in the cave". The children were well taken care of in the cave. They got far enough inside that rising floodwaters, not unusual at the cave this time of year, blocked their exit.
Members of the Thai navy SEAL team who were among the first searchers to penetrate the watery depth of Tham Luang Nang Non cave and the last divers out flew Thursday to their base at Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand, where they received a heroes' welcome.
The second group of boys rescued has been given approval to see their parents through glass, but the third group are still undergoing tests, he said.
But Chaiyananta, whose job was to help transfer the kids along between chambers two and three, said they were all "sleeping" on the harrowing journey out.
The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days.
Other video footage shows several of the boys in hospital, in quarantine and wearing face masks but seemingly in good health as they nod, wave and flash peace signs to the camera.
But he denied they were knocked out for the miraculous rescue.
On Wednesday, they too were recovering, nursing battered hands and feet from wading through the cold water in the cave to reach the boys.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters today that the entire operation would not have been possible without the unique skills that Harris brought to the mission, though he did not elaborate.
Closer to home, Chiang Rai locals rejoiced at the odds-upsetting rescue bid.
"We just did what we could", he said yesterday. They were told to remain calm and motionless as two divers prepared to tug them through murky waters and along guide ropes that had been put in place. To swim through the flooded tunnels, which could get as narrow as 15 inches, one diver held the front end of the stretcher, along with the boy's oxygen tank, while another held the rear end of the stretcher.
Earlier on Wednesday, the head of the Thai Navy Seals told the BBC that "hope became reality" with the rescue of the boys and their coach from the Tham Luang cave.
At least one film production house was already working on a scheme to make a Hollywood treatment out of the heroics of divers, cavers and medics who risked their lives to free the "Wild Boars".
Having completed this section, the boys were then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who helped them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they could wade through.
"They are the ones who were responsible for their own morale and really their own safety and without them being in the state they were in we couldn't have done anything".
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