The 12 boys and their coach were gradually rescued over a series of days after being trapped in the cave since June 23. A rescue volunteer, former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan, died during the operation when he ran out of oxygen. They will soon be able to meet them in person, but only while wearing protective clothing to reduce the risk of infection.
The first photographs of the boys recovering in a Chiang Rai hospital were released Wednesday. Some are walking around, while others sit up in their beds, waving at cameras and flashing the Spider-Man hand sign from their quarantined unit at the Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital.
The team and coach had ventured into the complex after a practice but became trapped when heavy rains flooded the way they'd come in. The aim, Anderson said, was to make each of the boys "tightly packaged" so divers could keep control of them and adjust their air supply as needed.
Wet and cold, some of the boys fell asleep as they were hauled along to the exit, but there were more than 100 people stationed along this section, including nurses who checked their temperature, blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels.
"And be careful in the future", Jason Mallison, a diver for the British Cave Rescue Council, said when asked by reporters in Thailand if there was anything he wanted to tell the rescued members of the Wild Boar soccer team.
Some of the boys rescued from a Thai cave seen in hospital in Chiang Rai. In places, they were put into harnesses and high-lined across rocky caverns, said a leader of the US contingent involved in the operation, calling it a "once in a lifetime rescue".
Divers freed the last four of the 12 boys and their adult coach on Tuesday.
Retrieving them the team from four kilometres-deep in the cave was a complicated process that resulted in the death of one of the rescue team.
"The water and scuba diving scenes would be expensive", said Judi Farkas, the literary agent who represented author Antonio Mendez on the film rights sale of his book "Argo" for the Oscar-winning movie.
"On behalf of the operation unit, we want to send our condolences to him and I do have to thank him a lot", he said.
Like the Chilean rescue, the Thai drama showcases real-life courage in the face of harrowing circumstances, said Mike Medavoy, the Oscar-nominated producer of "The 33".
"[He] is an extraordinary Australian and he has certainly made a big difference to the rescue effort here in Thailand", she said.
"It was dark so we all had head lamps, and there was one spotlight".
The chief of the rescue mission had called the device "not practical" for the operation, which required squeezing through narrow passageways in the cave, but a Thai military official said the mini-submarine could be useful for future rescue missions.