Mae Sai (Thailand), July 12, 2018 (AFP) - Rescuers who pulled a young Thai football team from deep inside a flooded cave were dismantling their worksite on Thursday, as plans emerged to turn the spot into a museum in tribute to the daring operation.
At least one film production house was already working on a scheme to make a Hollywood treatment out of the heroics of divers, cavers and medics who risked their lives to free the "Wild Boars".
Stunning footage of that rescue was released on Wednesday showing the youngsters -- aged 11 to 16 -- being stretchered to safety.
They were also seen sitting cheerfully in their hospital beds, where they are being kept in isolation until doctors are sure they did not pick up any nasty diseases during more than two weeks in the dark.
Workers were Thursday packing up the industrial water pumps, heavy-grade machinery and construction equipment at the mouth of the Tham Luang cave, which had been a high-tech command centre during the 18-day ordeal.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters the site would ultimately be converted into a museum showcasing the clothes and equipment used during the dramatic rescue.
"I believe it will become another highlight in Thailand," he said. "Tourists will come visit."
About 50 people were working at the site, National Park ranger Pinitpong Wongma told AFP, adding that he expected work would continue until at least Sunday.
"Nobody is allowed to go inside the cave at all even though there is still a lot of equipment there because water levels have been rising since the rescue mission," he said.
The rescue of the "Wild Boars" team was still being celebrated in Thailand as the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach recovered in a local hospital.
The Nation newspaper called the operation a "Triumph of global co-operation" on its front page Thursday while the Bangkok Post published a collage of images of those involved under the heading "You Are Heroes."
The saga started on June 23 when the players walked into the Tham Luang cave complex after football practice and were trapped when monsoon flooding blocked their exit.
Nine days later British divers found the dishevelled and hungry group perched on a ledge four kilometres inside the cave.
Over the following week, experts from around the world descended on northern Thailand and rescuers pumped out more than 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools-worth of water.
A huge media pack of more than 1,000 journalists gathered at the mouth of the cave feeding audiences all over the globe with every twist and turn of the dramatic rescue until its joyful conclusion on Tuesday.
The huge international interest in the story sparked immediate talk of books and films.
Michael Scott, the managing partner of faith-based production house Pure Flix, said the company intends to pursue a film about the against-the-odds mission.
Scott, who lives in Thailand and went to the site in Chiang Rai as the boys were being pulled to safety, made the announcement late Tuesday on Twitter in a video.
"We're here really looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people across the globe," Scott said.
MAE SAI, Thailand, July 10, 2018 (News Wires) - An eleventh person was rescued on Tuesday from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes all 13 would be out by the end of the day.
Two more boys are rescued from the cave. Now, two boys along with their football coach remain in the caves.
At least nine ambulances have been waiting at the site after the leader of the rescue operation said Tuesday's aim was to bring out all five as well as a medic and three Thai Navy SEALS, who have been with the trapped boys.
Officials have generally waited hours to confirm rescues.
In the past two days, eight boys were rescued and are now in a hospital isolation ward while they are tested for any possible infections. Medical experts say they are in high spirits and generally healthy.
BANGKOK, June 25, 2018 (News Wires) — Multiple attempts to locate 12 boys and their soccer coach missing in a flooded cave complex in northern Thailand for nearly two days have failed, but officials said on Monday they believe they're still alive.
The boys, aged 11-15, are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province with their coach late Saturday afternoon. A mother reported that her son never returned from soccer practice that day, setting off the search.
"We are still searching right now," Chote Narin, an officer at Mae Sai district police station, said Monday afternoon. "We've found traces but no people yet."
He said footprints and handprints were found inside the cave complex and officials believe the boys are still alive. He said the fact that they're athletes should help them endure the situation.
Navy SEAL divers were trying to reach a large chamber deep inside the cave complex where officials thought the students might be. The chamber is about 4 kilometres from the entrance of the cave, which is thought to be about 6-8 kilometres long.
Kamolchai Kotcha, an official at the forest park where the cave is located, said on Monday morning that attempts to reach the chamber had failed as the passage is extremely small, "flooded and covered with sand and mud."
"Right now, our family is hoping that the children trapped inside will have formed a group and are safe and waiting for officials to go in and save them in time. That's what I'm hoping," Noppadol Kantawong, the father of one of the missing boys, told Thai PBS on Sunday.
Footage on Thai television showed bicycles, backpacks and soccer cleats left outside the entrance to the cave. The area was filled with soldiers and rescue personnel.
The cave is a tourist attraction but can flood severely during Thailand's rainy season, which runs from June to October.
According to Kamolchai, tourists trapped in the cave by past floods have been rescued after the water receded a few days later.
TRIPOLI, June 25, 2018 (News Wires) - Libya's coastguard has rescued nearly 1,000 migrants who were on boats in distress in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe, the navy said on Monday.
Three separate operations took place on Sunday with the coastguard bringing ashore in Libya a total of 948 migrants, navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem said.
The migrants were on inflatable dinghies which were facing difficulties in the Mediterranean off the coast of Garabulli east of the capital Tripoli, navy officer Rami Ghommeidh said.
A first group of 97 migrants were rescued, while a second operation brought 361 migrants -- including 88 women and 44 children -- ashore and late in the evening a final group of 490 migrants were rescued, said Kacem.
In all a total of 2,000 migrants trying to make the perilous journey to Europe, often on unseaworthy boats, were either intercepted or assisted by the Libyan navy since Wednesday.
Monday's announcement by the navy came as Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was en route to Libya for talks on the migrant crisis.
Salvini, who has vowed a hardline stance on migrants, posted a selfie on Twitter showing him on board a military plane heading for Libya and wrote: "Mission Libya, we've left!".
He is the first member of Italy's new populist government to visit the North African country, a former Italian colony.
On Sunday Salvini ordered foreign charities to stop rescuing migrants off Libya even as reports emerged of that a group of nearly 1,000 were on boats in distress in the Mediterranean.
"Let the Libyan authorities do their work of rescue, recovery and return (of migrants) to their country, as they have been doing for some time, without the ships of the voracious NGOs disturbing them or causing trouble," he said.
Later on Sunday the Italian interior minister thanked Libyan authorities for rescuing migrants trapped at sea.
"I would like to express my heartfelt thanks, as a minister and as a father, to the authorities and the Libyan coastguard," he said in a tweet.
"Today they saved and brought 820 immigrants back to Libya, making the 'work' of the traffickers in vain and avoiding wrongful interventions by NGO ships," he added.
Libya is a key departure point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe, although hundreds drown each year attempting the crossing.
AUSTRALIA, March 23, 2018 (CNN)More than 140 short-finned pilot whales died after a mass stranding on a beach in Western Australia on Friday.
A group of around 150 whales became stranded at Hamelin Bay, around 300 kilometers south of the state's capital city Perth.
Six surviving whales had been returned to the sea as of 7.00 p.m local time (7.00 a.m. ET), Western Australia's Parks and Wildlife Service said.
"Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight and have not survived," Incident Controller Jeremy Chick said.
Chick said moving the whales by nightfall was logistically challenging because of the rocky beach terrain and rough seas.
"Once we have moved the whales out we will monitor the situation closely as it is possible the whales will come back into shore and re-strand. This has often been the case in previous mass strandings," he said.
Authorities said more than 100 local volunteers arrived on site to assist trained vets and officers from Sea Search and Rescue and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Melissa Lay, manager of the Hamelin Bay Holiday Park, told Reuters on Friday that it was the second mass stranding she had seen during her 15 years in the area.
"There are some that are still alive but barely," Lay said. "The last time it happened, none survived."
Short-finned pilot whales have a dark coloring with a pink underbelly and are known to inhabit tropical and subtropical waters. Authorities said it was not uncommon for migrating short-finned pilots to get stranded.
The largest mass stranding of whales in Western Austraila took place in 1996, when 320 long-finned pilot whales stranded themselves in the coastal town of Dunsborough.