Cave rescue: Who are the 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in Thailand?

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The 12 boys were all rescued and taken to hospital

On 23 June, 12 boys and their football coach walked into a cave after football practice in northern Thailand.

The boys, who are part of the Moo Pa - or Wild Boars - football team, became trapped when heavy rains flooded the Tham Luang cave and cut off their escape route.

All 12 boys and their coach have been freed from the cave.

Few details about the group have been released. Here is what we know about the boys and their coach:

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Chanin Vibulrungruang (Nickname: Titan), 11

The youngest in the team, who played as a forward. Titan started playing football at age seven before joining his school's sports club.

He was later invited to join the Wild Boars football club.

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Panumas Sangdee (Nickname: Mig), 13

According to Nopparat Kantawong, the head coach of the football team, Mig is bigger than other kids his age, but he is agile.

He is a defender for the Wild Boars.

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Duganpet Promtep (Nickname: Dom), 13

Striker, and captain of the Wild Boars, Dom has reportedly been scouted by several professional clubs in Thailand.

He is said to be a motivator and respected by his team for his football skills.

"Players on the field need a captain like this because sometimes the coach can't get in to solve their problems," Nopparat told the BBC.

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Adul Sam-on, 14

Adul was born in Myanmar's self-governing Wa State and left his family behind to get a better education in Thailand, according to reports.

The left defender speaks Thai, Burmese, Chinese and English, and was the only one able to communicate with the British divers when the group was first discovered.

While trapped in the cave, the boys and their relatives exchanged letters, carried by the rescue divers. Adul told his parents he missed them and not to worry.

"Mum and Dad want to see your face," his parents wrote. "Mum and Dad pray for you and your friends, so we can see each other soon."

Adul is also a talented volleyball player - and part of a local team that came second in all of northern Thailand two years in a row, local teacher Bunjob Chai-arm told the BBC.

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Somepong Jaiwong (Nickname: Pong), 13

"Pong is a cheerful boy, he likes football, and every sport. He dreams of becoming a footballer for the Thai national team," his teacher Manutsanun Kuntun told AFP.

The left winger wrote to his parents from inside the cave, saying: "I love Dad and Mum. Don't worry about me, I'm safe."

His parents replied: "Take good care of yourself and be strong - Dad, Mum and everyone are waiting for you."

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Mongkol Booneiam (Nickname: Mark), 12 or 13

Mark has been described by his teacher as a "very respectful" boy.

"He's cheerful, energetic, very friendly, and likes football and volleyball," Bunjob Chai-arm told the BBC.

Mark and his mother had moved to Thailand from Myanmar, he added. He plays in the same volleyball team as Adul.

His father Thinnakorn Boonpiem told AFP that his son is a "good boy" who loves to study - almost as much as football.

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Nattawut Takamrong (Nickname: Tern), 14

In a letter to his parents, Tern told them not to worry about him.

The defender wrote that he missed his parents and grandparents, but "Tern can take care of myself".

"Dad and mum are not angry at you and do not blame you," his parents replied, adding that they were waiting for him "in front of the cave."

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Peerapat Sompiangjai (Nickname: Night), 17

Night plays as right winger on the team.

He went missing on his birthday and his parents say they are still waiting to hold his party.

According to reports, the boys went into the cave to celebrate Night's birthday. They were said to have brought treats and snacks along with them.

These supplies probably helped sustain the group in the many days spent trapped inside the cave.

Sittthisak Sawanrak, who goes to the same cycling club as Night, describes him as "a great lad who just loves to cycle and play football".

"He's a quiet boy - doesn't talk much, but a very good, polite boy," he told the BBC.

In a letter to his parents from the cave, Night wrote: "Night loves everyone" and drew several hearts.

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Ekarat Wongsukchan (Nickname: Bew), 14

Bew is the goalkeeper of the team. In a letter to his mother, Bew promised to help her sell things at her shop once he was rescued.

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Prajak Sutham (Nickname: Note), 15

Note has been described by family friends as a "smart, quiet guy who loves sport and supports Chiang Rai United".

Family friend Ponrawee Tachavandee told the BBC he was "shocked" when he learned Note was trapped. "I didn't expect he would go inside the cave."

Rinlinee Sombat, who works in the same garage as Note's father, describes him as a kind boy who takes care of his two-year-old sister, and enjoys playing with her young son.

"He's a smart kid - when you teach him how to fix something in the garage, he'll learn how to do it after just one go," she told the BBC.

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Pipat Pho (Nickname: Nick), 15

In his letter, Nick told his parents he wants to go for Mookatha, or Thai barbeque, when he comes out of the cave.

"Nick loves Mum, Dad and siblings," he wrote, alongside a drawing of a heart.

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Pornchai Kamluang (Nickname: Tee), 16

Tee is a defender for the Wild Boars.

"Don't worry, I'm very happy", said Tee in a letter to his parents.

Media caption,
The mood was tense as people waited for news of the high-risk operation

Assistant coach Ekapol Chantawong (Nickname: Ake), 25

Ake was reportedly born in Myanmar and lost his parents at a young age.

Before becoming a football coach, he spent several years as a Buddhist monk, and learnt how to conserve energy by restricting movements and meditating. According to local news reports, he taught these techniques to the boys in the cave.

In his letter, Ake apologised to the parents for taking the boys into the cave network, but several replied to say they did not blame him.

"I promise I will take care of the kids as best as I can," Ake wrote.

Image caption,
The group of boys and their coach were found after nine days

Some media reports suggest that when the group was found Ake was the weakest, having refused to eat any of the food they had brought with them, giving it instead to the boys.

His note also included a message to both his aunt and grandmother, informing them that he was "fine".

"Do not worry too much about me. Take good care of your health," he wrote, adding: "Please prepare vegetable juice and pork rind for me. I'll have them when I can get out. Thanks."

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