Australian divers have told of the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a Thai cave system as each was passed "hand to hand" on stretchers between the rescuers to get them out.
Source: 1 NEWS
"They must have passed through about 150 hands," one of the divers said at a briefing in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand today.
"As you can imagine it was pretty crowded in there."
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and the coach, 25, had been trapped in the flooded Than Luang cave system for more than two weeks.
All were finally rescued this week, with the coach and the final four boys making the "arduous" 4km journey out of the cave yesterday.
The three Australian divers at the briefing also told how a wall of water crashed through the caves moments after the rescue was completed.
As the final Thai Navy SEAL emerged there was a "tsunami"-like surge after a pump failed.
The Australian diver said at first his team was given the job of helping with supplies before joining others to pass the boys through tight, watery crevices in the caves.
All of the Australian divers declined to comment on speculation the boys were sedated so as not to panic as they were guided to the surface.
Six Australian Federal Police divers, together with Dr Richard Harris, a specialist in hyperbaric medicine, helped support the Thai Navy diving team rescue operation.
An Australian Defence Force spokesman said Dr Harris, who made key assessments of the 12 boys on Saturday to greenlight the rescue operation, would not be speaking to the media.