A group of British divers who helped 12 Thai boys and their football coach escape from a flooded cave complex are “over the moon” with the outcome.
Tim Acton, one of the British experts drafted in to help with the monumental rescue, admitted those involved were now “tired” but “really happy”.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Acton said: “Everyone’s over the moon – they’re ecstatic’, adding that saving the boys had left his fellow rescuers “very emotional”.
Mr Acton and a number of British divers were specifically drafted in to help with the mission alongside Thailand’s navy seals.
Following their 18-day ordeal, the 12 youngsters are now being cared for in hospital as they embark upon their recovery.
On Wednesday, Thailand’s Prime Minister issued a special notice of thanks to all those involved in the rescue operation.
The plight of the young footballers, who went missing along with their sport coach while exploring the Luang Nang Non Cave, Chiang Rai province, had gripped the world’s attention for more than two weeks.
Having drafted in a number of foreign experts, British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were the first to make contact with the youngsters after their disappearance.
Each of the boys lost about 2kg in weight during their ordeal, while a handful of the group are currently being treated for lung infections.
While each of the 12 youngsters remain in hospital, they are all generally in good health.
The boys have not been able to be reunited with their families yet as tests are ongoing to check that they are clear of infections.
The group was malnourished and weak, and doctors are probably worried that they could be susceptible to germs spread by family members or other visitors
It is also possible they are infection risks to others. Thai doctors have said they do not know what type of unusual illnesses the boys may have picked up in the cave.
Experts say the most likely problems will stem from “the stress associated with this harrowing experience”.
One of the Thai doctors said the boys were happy but that psychologists would be evaluating them.
The guided escape was stressful, and the Thai Prime Minister said the boys were given an anti-anxiety medication to help calm their nerves.