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The schoolboys rescued from a flooded cave system in Thailand were dosed with an anti-anxiety drug to stop them panicking during the terrifying underwater mission, the country’s prime minister has admitted.
The authorities had previously denied the children were drugged but Prayut Chan-o-Cha confirmed that they had been given anxiolytic ‘to make them not excited, not stressed’.
Rescue - Team - Divers - Britons - Youngsters
The rescue was carried out by an elite team of international divers, led by Britons, who guided the sluggish youngsters along the tortuous two-and-a-half-mile escape route.
Extraordinary video footage shows how the boys were carted on stretchers for sections of the tunnel not flooded. In underwater parts, they were pulled along in a dream-like state by divers.
Conditions - Cave - System - Bare - Video
The treacherous conditions in the cave system were laid bare in the video released by Thai navy Seals yesterday.
It shows divers preparing to plunge into murky brown waters likened to ‘cold coffee’.
Idea - Children - Video - Chain - Rescuers
Contrary to the idea that the children would swim out, they appear to be motionless in the video as they are passed along a chain of rescuers including Thai navy personnel and volunteers from around the world.
In one section of film shot in a dry part of the cave system, six rescuers grip the handles of a tough plastic cradle carrying their precious young cargo. Other helpers heave on ropes to haul the children up steep sections.
Foil - Blankets - Boys - Tunnel - '
Wrapped in foil blankets to keep them warm, the boys are threaded through a claustrophobic tunnel compared to the ‘S-bend’ of a toilet. They are then lowered down steep drops and pulled through terrifyingly narrow choke points.
At one point, a boy can be seen waving his hand slightly and gripping his fingers into a fist, suggesting they were not completely unconscious.
None - Children - Footage - Rescuers
None of the children could previously swim and it is clear from the footage that rescuers had been too worried that they might...
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