Hero Aussie diver Dr Richard Harris reflects on 'extraordinary' Thai rescue

Footage of divers pulling the last boys to safety from the flooded cave

But part of the mission's success appears to be the level of detail that went into rehearsing the rescue.

But he said: "The most important thing to have was a full face mask which had been applied inside with positive pressure to enable them to breathe and to be relaxed enough so not to feel any anxiety during the process".

"The efforts and skill of these guys in blazing this trail can not be underestimated".

Dr Harris praised Thailand's efforts during the rescue mission, and the huge assistance provided by the worldwide community.

Mallison and his British diving colleague, John Volanthen, were given medals of honor and certificates of appreciation by Thai military officials Thursday before they flew back to Great Britain.

He said the Facebook post was a way of thanking all the people involved.

He said by the time he and Dr Challen arrived at the Chang Rai site in northern Thailand, local and British divers had laid down robust ropes to ensure safe access to the stranded boys of the Wild Boars team.

"Are we heroes? No", said Rick Stanton, one of the two British divers who found the boys.

"Suddenly the Australian guy who was overseeing that area started shouting that the water pump had stopped working", said Mr Chaiyananta.

The Thai authorities are planning to set up a museum at the cave site to showcase the daring rescue operation, and a Hollywood production house has announced plans for a film version of the group's ordeal.

The boys are understood to have entered the cave as a part of a team ritual, where younger boys would carve their names on to the wall.

The youth football players, who remain in hospital, reportedly told their parents, that they had barely begun their trek when flooding suddenly blocked their exit, forcing them further into the Luang Nang Non Cave in Chiang Rai.

"He was very hungry with such great pain in his stomach that he cried and drank water dripping along cave fissures", she said.

The twelfth boy and the coach were freed from the complex late Tuesday, after a complicated three-day operation to extricate the boys, who became trapped on June 23 when rising flood water cut off the exit, deep inside the cave. They were given a tranquilliser to keep them calm throughout the process.

Doctors have said they are in good physical and mental health - a view backed up by the footage made available by the Thai government showing them behind quarantine glass in bed wearing smocks and facemasks, flashing peace signs and doing the traditional "wai" greeting.

"We're not heroes", Volanthen said, despite headlines in the British newspapers describing him and the other worldwide rescuers as just that.

He spoke briefly as he departed Chiang Rai airport, refusing to accept credit.

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