US rescuer details unprecedented cave mission

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — A leader of a U.S. contingent that was part of the operation to rescue 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach who were trapped inside a cave says the boys endured dives in zero visibility lasting up to a half-hour, calling it a “once in a lifetime rescue.”

Derek Anderson, a rescue specialist with the U.S. Air Force, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the boys and their coach were “incredibly resilient.”

The operation to bring the boys out of the cave began Sunday, when four were extracted. Four more were rescued Monday. The operation ended Tuesday with the rescue of the last four boys and their coach.

Anderson said: “It’s important to realize how complex and how many pieces of this puzzle had to come together.”