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Mission accomplished and boys healthy, rescuers head home

Thai Navy SEALs and military personnel take a group picture before they board a plane at the airport in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, on July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AP) -- The Thai and foreign rescuers of the youth soccer team trapped in a cave for 18 days have been heading home, as doctors said the boys they saved have so far not shown any significant ill effects from their ordeal.

Members of the Thai navy SEAL team who were among the first searchers to penetrate the watery depth of Tham Luang Nang Non cave and the last divers out flew Thursday to their base at Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand, where they received a heroes' welcome.

Foreign helpers, including some of the world's best cave divers, also began their journeys home.

Doctors treating the 12 boys and their coach who survived their misadventure said their health is normal, although a few have low fevers and mild ear infections.

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