IN the midst of the sound and fury of Brexit, and the near-hysteria of England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals (and hopefully beyond), one of the stories of the year has unfolded in the Far East.

The successful rescue of 12 members of a junior football team and their coach, from deep within the bowels of a flooded cave is an amazing tale of human endurance and ingenuity. The scale of the achievement cannot be underestimated. To safely dive out a group of youngsters weakened by 18 days trapped on a narrow ledge, non of whom had any diving experience, along a route which narrowed in places to just a crawl space, is remarkable.

Of course, the rescue was not without victim, and many tributes have been paid to the former Thai navy Seal who died on Friday while trying to replenish oxygen canisters placed along the route.

The boys themselves remain in isolation in hospital, unable to be reunited with their families for the time being amid fears of infection. It is to be hoped that their mental health is as carefully monitored and supported over the coming days, weeks and months, as their physical health is.

Clearly the boys, the coach and their families still have many hurdles to overcome following the trauma of the last two and a half weeks, but given earlier dire predictions of months underground, and fresh monsoon flooding, their rescue went better than anyone dared to hope. The Thai authorities should be immensely proud of their Herculean efforts.