BANGKOK: Thailand celebrated the successful mission to free 12 boys and their football coach from a cave Wednesday, with the nation heaping praise on the rescue team as the triumphant tagline “Hooyah” pinballed across social media.
The nerve-shredding three-day mission ended on Tuesday with the final group of four boys and the coach emerging from the cave which had held them captive for 18 days.
The rescue received blanket coverage in Thai media with newspapers The Nation running a “Hooyah! Mission accomplished” and the Bangkok Post emblazoned with “All Wild Boars saved”
Their ordeal gripped the world, with the lives of the boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach hanging the balance as the threat of heavy rain injected urgency to an already perilous extraction bid.
Rescuers had weighed up several options to save the boys, including keeping them in the cave through the months-long monsoon season.
But they were prodded into the dangerous task of ‘diving out’ the team through submerged chambers and claustrophobic passages as oxygen levels in the cave plummeted and rains menaced.
The group were led out in three batches by a team of 13 international divers flanked by the Thai Navy SEALs, who greeted each successful rescue with a “Hooyah” on their Facebook page.
That sign off quickly turned into a hashtag shared across social media, where luminaries of business, politics and sport extended their best wishes to the team and the rescuers.