The Thai community in New Zealand is celebrating the safe rescue of 12 boys and their football coach after they were stuck in a Thai cave for 18 days.

President of the NZ Thai Society, Songvut Manoonpong, said the community were all very glad the group had been safely rescued.

"A lot of Thai people, even in New Zealand, were talking about this and there was a lot of help offered from around the world," he said.

"We are all really relieved and happy that they all came out. Now they are all celebrities, along with the rescue team."

Advertisement
The Wild Boars football team were successfully rescued from a Thai cave on Tuesday (NZT) after being stuck for 18 days. Photo / Supplied
The Wild Boars football team were successfully rescued from a Thai cave on Tuesday (NZT) after being stuck for 18 days. Photo / Supplied

Manoonpong said he was very impressed by the efforts of the rescuers.

"It was not easy. I checked the plan of the cave and it was not an easy task and was really risky."

He said the Auckland Thai community would be holding a celebration of the happy ending tomorrow.

"We will be gathering together to have chanting and prays for all of them. We will even be praying for the one person who lost their life from the Navy Seals."

He expected about 30-40 people to attend the celebration at Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Kelston, which would begin at 10am.

He said the Thai community had also prayed for the group throughout the weeks they were stuck inside the cave.

Songvut Manoonpong said the Thai community were very thankful for all the support and help that was sent from around the world. Still from NZ Herald video / Ash Boyd
Songvut Manoonpong said the Thai community were very thankful for all the support and help that was sent from around the world. Still from NZ Herald video / Ash Boyd

"They are very lucky that they could survive and were strong. It is a very happy ending and everyone is pleased that they are all safe."

Manoonpong said the Thai community were very thankful for all the support and help that was sent from around the world.

The extraordinary effort to rescue the boys ended in success last night when the last of the trapped group emerged from the cave.

Rescuers spent about eight hours in the cave complex guiding the boys to safety on the third day of operations.

The last group was underground for 18 days after the rescue attempts began two days earlier.

The group was discovered in the flooded cave on July 2, 10 days after they went missing.

They were trapped in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave that became flooded by monsoon rains while they were exploring it after a football practice on June 23.

Because of the risk of infection, the boys - aged 12 to 16 - and their 25-year-old coach will now be isolated in hospital for about a week.

Some of the boys possibly have lung infections but all have been reported to be "healthy and smiling".

Family members are currently only allowed access to the children through a glass isolation barrier, but if medical tests show no dangers they may be allowed access in a couple of days.