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13 July 2018, 02:18 | Devin Moran
ASSOCIATED PRESS A helicopter believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave lands in Chiang Rai on Tuesday
On July 2, Volanthen and Stanton were stringing a safety rope through a flooded area of the cave when they popped up in a cavern and, to their surprise, saw all 12 boys and their coach huddled on a small beach in the darkness of the cave.
Ewan McGregor, a British missionary in the city of Chiang Rai where the boys are now in hospital, said: "It really is a miracle and a result of prayer and I'm just excited to hear the testimonies of the boys when they're safe and well".
Authorities sent food and medical care deep into the cave as they devised an escape, which became hard due to its tight spaces and flooded compartments.
Dr Harris risked his own life to make the treacherous journey to the underground chamber where the group of 13 had been trapped for two weeks. "I hope they will treat all stateless people in Thailand equally". "We have to see whether they were born in Thailand and whether they have either a Thai father or mother".
"From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed".
Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who oversaw the rescue operation, said the boys should not be blamed for their near tragedy.
"(The Australians) have been a big help, especially the doctor", Mr Osotanakorn told 9NEWS reporter Ben Avery. "He's got a very good bedside manner".
But one man has emerged as a pivotal figure in the most unlikely of rescues - Australian diver and anaesthetist Richard "Harry" Harris.
Officials said the plight of the stranded boys and the heroic and successful multi-national efforts to free them has put the relatively unexplored cave squarely on the map.
Volanthen and fellow Brit Rick Stanton were the first rescuers to find the boys deep in the Tham Luang cave complex. However, he urged the boys to tell their stories in time, when they're ready.
A second movie is being developed on the rescue of the 12 Thai footballers and their coach from a flooded cave after an 18-day ordeal, reports said.
But they pressed on and, on July 8, the rescue began.
During the roughly nine-hour rescue operation, the boys were underwater for four to six hours, according to Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, the permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry. Three of the five in the last group have fevers that are easing, and three have middle ear infections.
The "Wild Boars" football team got stuck inside the cave on June 23 after flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains blocked the entrance.
The 18-day ordeal riveted much of the world - from the terrible news that the 13 were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers almost 10 days later.
"Theoretically, all people must be under the care and protection of being a citizen of at least one state, but in reality there are more than 500,000 persons in Thailand who do not have any nationality, even though they are born and raised in Thailand", Surapong said.
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