Thai boys rescued

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2018-07-10 10:28

Twelve Thai soccer players and their coach are safe and sound.

On June 23, the team was exploring some underground caves when heavy rain caused flooding and trapped them inside for more than two weeks.

Even though the drama was unfolding halfway across the world, many Canadians were watching.

Map showing how far Thailand is from Canada

It was a difficult rescue, because the group was found deep inside the cave complex.

A map of the caves showing where the entrance is, the rescue base is and where the group was found. The group was about 4 kilometres, or 37 football fields, from the entrance for the caves.

In order to get out, each boy had to wear an oxygen mask and follow divers through a series of dark channels.

A gif showing a diver at the front with the boy's air bottle, the boy behind with a full-face mask and tether to diver as well as the dive line the swimmers are following

Some of the boys, who were between the ages of 11 and 16, were not very good swimmers. Rescuers had to teach them how to use the diving equipment.

In some cases, it was a tight squeeze to get from one channel to the next.

A GIF showing that the tightest squeeze in the swim is 38 by 72 cm or about one cereal box by two cereal boxes

The boys have been sent to hospital for medical tests to make sure they are healthy before returning home.

What will be their first meal after surviving such an ordeal? Porridge.

Officials say all they have eaten underground is protein drinks, delivered by rescuers, so their bodies aren’t quite ready to handle big meals.

The rescued boys sitting around a table and eating

One of the boys said he couldn’t wait to eat KFC. (Thailand's Ministry of Health and the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital/Associated Press)

People across the world are sending notes of congratulations to the boys, including fellow soccer players: 

Tweet from Manchester United says relieved to learn the 12 footballers are safe. We would love to welcome the team to Old Trafford this coming season.