Four years later, never-before-seen video has emerged of teams in Australia bringing home a life-changing story.
The footage was taken by an elite team of six Australian Federal Police divers, wading in by torchlight.
It was a winter afternoon in Canberra when Senior Constable Kel Boers answered a call he would never forget.
“His question for me was simple – do you cave dive?” he said.
The Boers replied, “Sure, why not?”
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Within 24 hours, the members of the AFP’s specialized intervention group found themselves integrated into the multinational mission.
The task was clear: first locate and then rescue the 12 wild boars.
They had only a thin rope to guide them.
Their photos show a makeshift camp set up on the side of a muddy hill.
Stacks of life-saving oxygen tanks and production lines of crews carrying equipment can be seen.
The plan for a complex rescue has been scribbled on a whiteboard.
“Once we entered the cave and sat and waited for the first pass, the nervous energy was terrible, you could have cut it like a knife,” Boers said.
The boys were transported sedated, oxygenated and strapped to a stretcher, after being carried through tiny rock openings by specialist divers.
Then Boers and his team got involved.
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“When the first boy came in and everything was fine and everything worked like clockwork, and we did medical checks and passed them on, it was kind of like – it worked,” did he declare.
It took three full days before, on July 10, 2018, the news the world had been waiting for arrived.
Boers, who remembers eating pizza and KFC with his teammates to get them going, said the kids didn’t realize how important their story had become.
“They all thought they had to bike home when we took them out,” he said.
The Australians ended up being part of the last crew to emerge from the cave.
All were honored for their efforts, with the Boers awarded the Order of Australia and the Medal of Bravery.