Thai cave rescue: Father dies after hero doctor's successful mission

The boys won’t attend the World Cup final. Pic AAPMore

Another video released on Facebook by the Thai Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue, apparently shows one of the boys being carried through part of the muddy cave on a stretcher covered by an emergency thermal blanket.

The "Wild Boars" football team got stuck inside the cave on June 23 after flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains blocked the entrance.

"I want this warm hug once again", his widow Valeepoan said on Instagram, posting a photo of her and Saman embracing.

"Samarn Kunan is the real hero", Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

On Tuesday, US television network ABC aired a special edition of "20/20" focused on the mission, and the Discovery Channel announced it would air a one-hour documentary on Friday.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days. On Tuesday authorities said some of the boys had asked to eat bread with chocolate spread, but mostly they'll be given a food similar to milk which is rich in proteins and nutrients. "Your husband is so fearless".

Manchester City and England defender Kyle Walker, whose team faces Croatia in the second semi-final later on Wednesday, said he wanted to send shirts to the boys.

The rescue sparked jubilation with Thais heaping praise on the rescue team of foreign and local divers as the triumphant tagline "Hooyah" pinballed across social media.

That left 20 or so divers scrambling to flee the rising waters, he said, explaining they narrowly made it out time.

Then on July 10, the remaining four boys and their coach were brought out of the cave.

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Questions will remain as to why the team, led by their 25-year-old coach, went into the caves during the rainy season - it is common knowledge that it is a risky time to enter, and signs at the entrance specifically warn of the dangers of monsoon rains. But Valeepoan absolved them of responsibility.

The parents wrote to coach Ekapol Chanthawong: "Please don't blame yourself for this".

The head of the diving team, meanwhile, urged the boys on Thursday to "be a force for good".

"Make the most of your lives".

"They are the ones who were responsible for their own morale and really their own safety and without them being in the state they were in we couldn't have done anything".

"Hooyah!" Apakorn shouted before flying out, using a morale-building navy term.

A video of the boys in hospital was shown at the news conference.

Fernando Raigal, a Spanish diver who took part in the rescue, told the Mail: "The boys were sedated - they were unconscious". "The big heroes in this are the children and the four Thai navy Seals who were looking after them".

None of the children could previously swim and it is clear from the footage that rescuers had been too anxious that they might panic underwater to risk trusting them to simply scuba dive out of the flooded cave system.

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