The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand have all finally been rescued, ending an 18-day ordeal that gripped local and international onlookers.
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the Thai Navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page.
What started as a hiking trip gone awry ended as a high-stakes crash course in cave diving, in which the boys were taught how to swim, wear full-face oxygen masks, and meditate to keep calm.
“They are forced to do something that no kid has ever done before,” Ivan Karadzic, a diver on the rescue team, told the BBC. “They are diving in something considered an extremely hazardous environment in zero visibility. The only light that is in there is the torch light we bring ourselves.”
To make the 2.5-mile journey out of the cave, each boy was escorted by expert divers who sometimes had to hold the boys’ oxygen tanks for them while they traversed through incredibly narrow passageways. The most dangerous section of the journey came at a pitch-black, 15-inch-wide “pinch point” that the boys had to navigate alone, CBS News reported.