Boys rescued from Thai cave expected to be released Thursday

Malcolm Turnbul

"I am very strong now", said one of the 13-year-old boys, Sompong Jaiwong Pong, according to Sky News. Some had pneumonia when they were brought out of the cave but were recovering, he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they get married".

Some of the rescued football team cry as they're told the news a diver died during the preparations for their rescue.

Speaking to reporters on home soil on Saturday, Dr Harris described the joy of the remarkable rescue mixed with the "bittersweet" feelings of the passing of his father.

"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.

Some of the rescued soccer team members get emotional as they consider the Thai Navy SEAL diver who died.

However, he was just one of a small team of expert Aussie cave divers who have reached an nearly legendary status in their field due to their expertise and boundary-pushing missions.

Upon hearing the news, numerous boys cried and wrote messages of thanks to the former Navy SEAL.

He responded to the call for help from Thai authorities when he was named specifically by the British diving team leading the mission as the best person for the job, with his medical skills and 30 years' diving experience.

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said all the Australians involved would be receiving formal recognition for their efforts.

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The Australian Defence Force flew the entire crew home on RAAF jet which left Thailand on Friday.

The AMA tweeted that Dr Harris was "an unbelievable doctor and human being".

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. I miss you. From now on when I wake up.

The teenagers also asked if they could be sent some KFC.

They were found nine days later, and the complex rescue took several days to plan and more than 100 volunteers to complete.

The youngest child, Chanin Wiboon Rungruang, 11, thanked the Thai Navy SEALS "for your support".

The members of the Thai soccer team who were rescued from a cave earlier this week are sending "thank you" messages from the hospital where they are recovering.

Unfortunately due to their prolonged period inside the damp and dark cave tunnel, numerous boys had lost a substantial amount of weight given their young ages, with some of the soccer players having lost as much as 11 pounds.

Chris Jewell, another British diver who travelled to Thailand with Mallinson to help, gave credit to the "brave" children who "showed no signs of panic" as he gently pushed them under the surface of the water in the cave system and guided them through the dark to safety.

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