Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised the courage of the Australians and other rescuers involved in freeing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thai cave.
"It's one of the most heroic and inspiring episodes of our time," Mr Turnbull told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane on Wednesday, just hours after the final four boys and their coach were freed after an 18-day ordeal.
"It's hard to imagine anything more frightening than being trapped underground in the dark, let alone having your children trapped underground in the dark."
Australia sent a team of 20 rescue divers and government officials to help with the rescue effort that was coordinated by Thai navy SEALs and also included rescuers from Britain and the United States.
Among them was Adelaide anaesthetist and underwater cave explorer Richard "Harry" Harris who risked his own life to make the treacherous journey to the underground chamber where the group was trapped.
Mr Turnbull said he had spoken with the Australians involved in the rescue.
"The courage of those men and women who affected that rescue, the Thai Navy SEALs, the British divers, the Australian divers, and doctors - of course, we acknowledge Dr Richard Harris from Adelaide who played such an important role - but the whole team from the AFP, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, from the Australian Defence Force, they worked together with their international partners in a way that is an inspiration," Mr Turnbull said.
"I want to thank them, on behalf of a very, very grateful nation."
The rescue of the final five members of the Wild Boars soccer team from the flooded Tham Luang cave system was celebrated overnight, Australian time.
The other eight boys had been extracted from the cave on Sunday and Monday.
The astonishing rescue story has gripped Thailand and the world since the group was discovered trapped alive by two British cave divers on July 2, nine days after disappearing while exploring the cave system.