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Rescue Complete. All boys leave cave alive

In a rescue mission that used efforts from dozens of countries, all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been extracted from a flooded cave in a drama that has riveted their nation and the world. More ambulances with flashing lights were seen leaving the site of the flooded Thai cave Tuesday as the last of the boys were rescued.

Health officials say all the boys, ages 12 to 16, have now been brought out over the last three days, and they’re in “high spirits” and generally healthy.

Those rescued are now in the hospital, quarantined for at least seven days away from germs and infections. Their lungs and hearts will be evaluated, and they’ll be given vaccinations and antibiotics to be safe.

Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, deputy director-general of the Thai Public Health Ministry, said Tuesday that the first group of four boys rescued are generally healthy and now able to eat normal food. But he said two of them may have a lung infection.

“They were in that cave for a long time exposed to human waste and obviously unsanitary conditions. There can be skin breakdown, infections,” explains Dr. Jen Ashton.

If medical tests show no danger, parents will be able to enter the isolation area to see their children for the first time since the boys became trapped in the cave two weeks ago.

The 12 boys and their soccer coach became trapped by flooding due to heavy rains after entering that cave. The dangerous conditions of the flooding made rescue attempts impossible for days, leading to the death of a highly trained navy SEAL diver.

The final leg of the mission involved 19 divers with oxygen tanks for the victims, and a rope line to guide them through murky waters, occasional fast currents, and completely flooded sections of the cave complex.