The remaining 5 members of the "Wild Boars" football team have been pulled out of the cave where they had been stuck for 18 days. The risky operation involved a team of international divers and Thai Navy SEALs.
Rescue workers have successfully pulled out all the trapped members of a local youth team from a cave in northern Thailand, ensuring a happy ending to an ordeal that has gripped the world for more than two weeks.
Earlier in the day, authorities sent rescue teams into Tham Luang Nang Non cave for the third and final stage of an operation to extract the remaining trapped members of the "Wild Boars" football team.
Skilled divers navigating tight, winding tunnels successfully pulled eight boys from the flooded cave complex during missions on Sunday and Monday.
Tuesday's push aimed to free the four remaining children and their 25-year-old coach.
The 19-strong rescue team also planned to retrieve a doctor and three Thai Navy SEALs who have stayed with the group since they were first discovered over a week ago.
The 12 boys and their coach became trapped on June 23 when they ventured into the cave and were cut off by floodwaters. Their disappearance triggered a frantic search as rescuers raced rising water levels at the start of the monsoon season. A British diving team found them after nine days.
Last Friday, an ex-Navy SEAL died while placing oxygen tanks along the 4.7-kilometer (2.9-mile) evacuation route.
Happy to get out
Authorites are keeping the eight rescued boys away from their parents for fear of infection. However, senior health official Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk said all of them are "healthy and smiling."
"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems," he added. "Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them."
The four boys who were recovered on Sunday are now eating normal food, Jedsada said.
Still, health officials were wary of possible infections "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."
The children, aged between 12 and 16, would likely spend another week in the hospital, according to the official.