Thai boys recuperate in hospital

Malcolm Turnbull Skype calls Dr Richard Harris to thank him for his work

Malcolm Turnbull Skype calls Dr Richard Harris to thank him for his work

"Meanwhile on the ground, the Thais and global community sent in swarms of men and women to provide everything from catering, communications, media and of course the huge teams of workers filling the cave with tonnes and tonnes of equipment to try and lower the water and sustain the diving operations", Dr Harris wrote.

Speaking on his return to the UK, Mr Stanton said: 'Are we heroes?

The father of 14-year-old Ekkarat Wongsukchan said the coach dived into the water to see their circumstances once they became trapped, and drew arrows on the cave wall so no one became lost.

"We congratulate the Royal Thai Government for ensuring the successful recovery of the members of the team", the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Volanthen paid tribute to the Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.

"I think it is a miracle".

"They had already been doing the most extraordinary dives through the cave and laying the very robust rope which made all subsequent dives to the soccer team not only possible, but safe", he wrote.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday worldwide members of the rescue team would be given a "Thailand Elite" card worth 500,000 baht ($15,000) with benefits including a 5-year visa in thanks.

The group survived by drinking water that dripped off the stalactites and the cave walls, rescue officials said.

Initially isolated in hospital in Chiang Rai because of fears of infection, the boys have now been allowed to meet their families. They will stay in hospital at least a week.

'So there was relief, tempered with uncertainty'.

The aim was to learn how to "tightly package" each of the boys in order to easily maneuver them through tight passageways and adjust their air supply as needed.

"There was a lot of chaos but we were so task-orientated, focused, and we blanked that out and carried on with the job in hand, step by step, until we achieved success".

Thailand cave diving hero Dr Richard Harris (second left) pictured with MEDSTAR Andrew Pearce (left), wife Fiona (second right) and West Australian diver Craig Challen (right).

"It was a successful outcome and we played a part in an global effort".

Mr Stanton declined to answer any medical questions but said: "They were carefully handled".

Other members of the team returning to the United Kingdom were Chris Jewell and Connor Roe, both from Somerset; Josh Bratchley, from Devon and Jim Warny, from County Clare.

Mr Jewell said it was very hard to judge how close it came to being a very different outcome.

Fellow diver Chris Jewell provided new details of the operation, describing how Thai authorities had diverted rivers on the mountaintop to help control water levels in the cave.

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