"It was mostly a matter of clambering through mud, which was very tough", Ben Reymenants said.
The rescue sparked jubilation with Thais heaping praise on the rescue team of foreign and local divers as the triumphant tagline "Hooyah" pinballed across social media.
After a perilous journey to safety through the depths of the Tham Luang caves, the rescued members have to wait before sharing a hug with their loved ones.
Mallison and his British diving colleague, John Volanthen, were given medals of honor and certificates of appreciation by Thai military officials Thursday before they flew back to Great Britain. "There was only a tiny bit of hope, but that's all we had to work with". "In our country, you have so many friends".
A screen grab from a July 11 handout video shows boys rescued from the Thai cave wearing masks and resting in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Thai Navy SEALs also posted photos and a video of some of their operations in the cave on their Facebook page Wednesday.
Derek Anderson, a 32-year-old rescue specialist with the U.S. Air Force based in Okinawa, Japan, said that at times during the risky rescue, the boys had to be put into harnesses and high-lined across the rocky caverns.
At Heathrow, Mr Volanthen was hugged and presented with chocolates by an unknown Thai woman.
Pushing a cart stacked with his luggage, Volanthen paused to speak with reporters about the rescue mission.
He added: "We are not heroes".
"The section of cave we were in was very rocky and unstable".
Arriving back in the United Kingdom, he said everybody had "pulled together" and was "very, very pleased it worked out quite so well".
A crowd of supporters gathered to greet a team of divers on Tuesday, July 10, after they successfully freed a youth soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province.
Teacher Kru Nice says 14-year-old Adun Sam-On has always been a leader, despite the fact he doesn't have his parents with him or even an official home.
He said "relief is the word I would use" to describe the moment he and Stanton found the group.
"We had a little bit of hope that they might still be alive but we had to do it, we just had to move forward", Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew said.
Ross Schnauer, 43, was among the rescue team that extracted the last remaining boys from Tham Luang Nang Non cave on Monday, after the football team of 13 players and their coach had been stuck for 18 days.
"Very good. The best - not good - the very best".
Another diver, Jason Mallinson, 50, from Huddersfield, said the team left messages for the children as they flew back to the United Kingdom saying: "We're very glad we could get you out alive".
During the mission to save the boys, a former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunam died after volunteering to lend his expertise.
"It's about the triumphs of individuals and groups of human beings over tragedy", Medavoy said.