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Thai cave reopens more than a year after a dramatic mission saved a young soccer team

Click to play video 'Thai soccer team reunite with some of the Australian divers who helped saved them from cave' Thai soccer team reunite with some of the Australian divers who helped saved them from cave
WATCH: (From April 2019) Thai soccer team reunite with some of the Australian divers who helped saved them from cave – Apr 22, 2019

The Thai cave that was the site of a dramatic rescue for a soccer team and their coach last year has officially reopened to the public.

The 12 young boys and their soccer coach walked into the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand in late June 2018 after soccer practice. But they were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater due to seasonal rain.

READ MORE: All 12 boys, soccer coach rescued from flooded Thai cave

Thai military medical personnel and associated officials practice carrying an injured person during an emergency exercise near the Tham Luang cave in Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Noon Forest Park in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, 30 June 2018. EPA/PONGMANAT TASIRI

Desipite a massive search that was launched to find them — a risk-filled mission that drew the world’s attention — the team became trapped in the cave for nine nights, before an expert diver spotted them. 

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It then took another eight days to bring them all to safety. The operation resulted in the death of one former Thai navy diver who died during a re-supply mission supporting the rescue. 

Click to play video 'Diver who helped rescue Thai soccer team from cave last year rescued from U.S. cave' Diver who helped rescue Thai soccer team from cave last year rescued from U.S. cave
Diver who helped rescue Thai soccer team from cave last year rescued from U.S. cave – Apr 18, 2019

Now, more than a year later, monks, tourists, and government officials returned to the site for an official reopening, according to the Guardian. There were even sales of Tham Luang shirts. 

One of the divers who helped rescue the 13 people, Vernon Unsworth, was among those at the scene on Friday.

Members of the Wild Boars soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, pose for the media after a marathon and biking event in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

READ MORE: Thai boys were drugged with ketamine for risky cave rescue

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Click to play video 'Canadian who helped rescue Thai soccer team speaks with Global News' Canadian who helped rescue Thai soccer team speaks with Global News
Canadian who helped rescue Thai soccer team speaks with Global News – Oct 18, 2018

He told the Guardian last year’s mission was “the biggest rescue ever mounted.”

With a permit from the park where the cave is located, 20 visitors at a time were allowed into the first cave’s chamber, according to the Bangkok Post.

The park was upgraded to national park status earlier this year, and has hosted approximately 1.5 million in the past fiscal year, the Post reported.

READ MORE: Film about Thai cave boys saga chronicles dramatic rescue

The dramatic rescue of the soccer team and their coach has also inspired filmmakers to tell the story for the big screen, with one film, director Tom Waller’s “The Cave”, making its South Korean debut in October.

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Netflix has also secured the rights to tell the tale from the viewpoint of the young boys.

With files by The Associated Press

Click to play video 'What members of the Thai soccer team will have to do to become monks' What members of the Thai soccer team will have to do to become monks
What members of the Thai soccer team will have to do to become monks – Jul 24, 2018

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