[PHOTOS] What Really Happened During The Thai Boys Rescue Mission In The Cave

The dangerous journey in and out of the cave took several hours over the course of three days.

Cover image via AFP/Getty

Relief and joy spread throughout Thailand as all members of the 'Wild Boars' football team have been rescued, after having been trapped inside a cave since 23 June

Image via AFP/Getty

The 12 boys and their coach were making headlines around the world, as rescue divers worked tirelessly to retrieve them for more than two weeks.

Here's how the rescue operation went down:

1. 10 days passed before divers found the kids located about 3km from the entrance of the cave

Authorities worked together to drain as much water as possible from the cave, in order for divers to have breathing space between the water and the ceiling.

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Image via EPA

2. The first km of the journey was the most dangerous, during which they were required to squeeze through a narrow flooded channel

The narrowest gap in the cave was said to be 38cm wide.

CNN reported that the rescuers held the boys' air tanks in front of them and swam pencil-like through submerged holes. They also had to climb over slippery rocks in the cave, holding on to ropes for assistance, according to ABC.

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3. Once they completed the first section, the boys were then handed over to a different team of rescuers, who helped them wade through rest of the cave

Image via The Guardian

Relatives remained hopeful outside praying and anticipating the return of their sons, 28 June.

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4. After an intense nine-hour journey, the first four boys emerged from the cave on 8 July, wearing full-faced diving masks

The waterproof masks allowed the boys to breathe through their nose and mouth underwater.

5. In between missions, the divers needed to replenish air tanks along the route to prepare for the next rescue phase

The second batch of four boys were rescued the following day, 9 July. 

Image via NDTV
Image via Getty

6. Over the course of three days, all boys and their coach were safely removed from the cave and are currently recovering well

The remaining five members were said to have come out on stretchers on 10 July and taken by helicopter to the hospital, reported Free Malaysia Today. 

Image via Getty
Image via AFP/Getty

"We don't know if this is a miracle, science, or what. All 13 'Wild Boars' are now out of the cave," wrote the Thai Navy SEALS in a statement posted on Facebook, adding that, "All are safe."

Coach Ekapol Chantawong received worldwide attention when he helped the kids remain calm throughout their 10 days of waiting in darkness:

This was what happened previously:

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