All saved: 12 boys, coach rescued from flooded cave in Thailand

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All 12 boys and coach rescued from Thailand cave

All 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, the Thai navy SEALs said Tuesday, ending an 18-day ordeal that riveted people around the world.

The final four boys and their coach were removed during rescue efforts early Tuesday morning.

Officials confirmed they had restarted the rescue effort for the third day at 10 a.m. local time, or 11 p.m. Eastern time the prior night.

As with the previous rescue efforts, 19 divers went into the cave, with two divers escorting each of the boys out of the cave with tethers.

The rescue operation was expected to take about nine hours, though the Thai navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page "it will be longer than previous ones."

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The boys rescued range in age from 12 to 16; their coach is 25.

Eight boys were rescued in the first two days - four each day.

So far, eight of the boys saved have been reported to be in "high spirits" and were healthy, although two are suffering from pneumonia, hospital staff states.

Doctors were being cautious because of the infection risk and were isolating the boys in the hospital. They did get a treat, however: bread with chocolate spread that they'd requested.

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.

Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling," he said.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems," Jesada said. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them."

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from the hospital, Jedsada told a news conference.

VIDEO: These are the Thai soccer players trapped in a flooded cave

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Photos from social media show the 13 members of a Thai youth soccer team, 12 players and one coach, all of whom have been trapped in a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand for weeks.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier, and Jedsada said doctors may let the boys walk around their beds Tuesday.

It was clear doctors were taking a cautious approach.

Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."

If medical tests show no dangers, after another two days parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing and staying 2 meters away from the boys, said Tosthep Bunthong, Chiang Rai Public Health Chief.

ABC News and The Associated Press Contributed to this post.
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u.s. & worldrescuesearch and rescuechildrenwater rescue
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