A former Navy Seal has told the AFP that the rescued Thai boys were passed “sleeping” on stretchers through the treacherous passageway.
The saga that has captured the imagination and attention of the world ended on Tuesday, when all the boys and their coach were finally brought to safety after 18 days in the cave.
This brought cheers from watchers who have been keeping vigil in front of the cave and jubilation from many across the world.
The rescue team, made of local and foreign divers worked day and night, the Thai government have refused to shed more light on hjow the team were able to deliver the kids from what looked like an impossible task to start with. The dangers were brought into focus when a former Navy Seal died after running out of oxygen when plans about how to rescue the boys were being made.
After days of speculation, another retired Navy Seal has now revealed the boys were asleep or only partially conscious when they were being carried out of the cave.
Commander Chaiyananta Peeranarong said: “Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers… (as if) groggy, but they were breathing,”
“My job was to transfer them along,”
It is now believed the boys were given “minor tranquilliser” to prevent anxiety while the transfer took place, considering many of the passages were submerged.
The boys became trapped deep in the cave in the mountainous area of northern Thailand near on June 23, after they went in after football practice and was caught behind rising waters.