The 12 boys and their football coach who were rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand last week, made their first public appearance on Wednesday after leaving the hospital in Chiang Rai city they had been admitted to, Reuters reported.
The boys answered journalists’ questions, which were vetted by a child psychiatrist, about their ordeal in the cave, The Guardian reported. Their coach, Ake, said he tried to keep their morale high by talking to them and by trying to find drinkable water trickling down the walls of a well.
Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on, the only member of the team who speaks English, said he could only muster a “hello” when the two British divers found him. “I was stunned because they were English so I said ‘hello’,” Sam-on said.
The players from the Wild Boars Soccer team – aged between 11 years and 16 years, and their 25-year-old coach – had walked into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand on June 23. They were trapped there for more than two weeks after rising flood waters blocked their exit from the vast cave complex. They were discovered on July 3. The coach said they had all agreed to visit the cave as they had not been there before.
Chiang Rai’s provincial Governor Prachon Pratsukan said this would be the boys’ “only official media interview”. They are scheduled to return to their homes soon.
The group was rescued after a three-day operation involving experts from several countries, including the Thai Navy SEALs, the United States Indo-Pacific Command and British cave diving experts. After being rescued, the boys thanked their rescuers in a video message. “I am in good health now,” one of the them said. “Thanks for saving me.”