With Thai soccer team freed, Hollywood gears up for the movie

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The boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were fully rescued Tuesday after Thai navy SEALS completed the high-risk mission through rising floodwaters.

Volanthen praised the entire worldwide rescue team, which included 90 of the best scuba divers from around the world, for saving the group, who became trapped when monsoon rains struck on June 23 and flooded their exit.

Volanthen paid tribute to the Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.

John Volanthen returned to his home country after helping rescue the 12 boys.

Volanthen was the first person the boys heard after nine days trapped in the flooded cave.

That gutsy determination was on display today in a video taken from the hospital isolation ward.

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Raw video shows the boys rescued from the Thai cave recovering in the hospital today.

They had gone into the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai on June 23, for a quick excursion after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said the boys lost an average of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) while they were trapped.

The SEALs commander, Rear Adm. Apakorn Youkongkae, said the soccer coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, determined the order the boys from the Wild Boars soccer team should be rescued in. "For SEALs, this is what we were trained for". They were given a tranquilliser to keep them calm throughout the process.

"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.

This was evident in some footage released by the Thai Navy SEALs where the Thai divers could be seen using pulleys, ropes and rubber piping to haul stretchers holding two of the immobile young footballers to safety.

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This week, after an 18-day ordeal, they were all rescued from the cave complex.

"On behalf of the operation unit, we want to send our condolences to him and I do have to thank him a lot", he said.

"Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely", Walker said.

"I hope one day, in a few years, they will be able to tell their story, because, like ours, it's a story of faith and hope", Urzua told Reuters.

"[He] is an extraordinary Australian and he has certainly made a big difference to the rescue effort here in Thailand", she said.

The chief of the rescue mission had called the device "not practical" for the operation, which required squeezing through narrow passageways in the cave, but a Thai military official said the mini-submarine could be useful for future rescue missions.

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