Thailand's cave boys wake up at home for first time in weeks

Thailand's cave boys wake up at home for first time in weeks

Dressed in football fatigues and looking healthy, the "Wild Boars" football team spoke of their "miracle" rescue at a news conference on Wednesday, their first public appearance since getting trapped.

The youngest member of the team, Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, is only 11.

Ekapol said he told the boys: "We can not go out this way".

A Thai journalist selected by the authorities asked the questions.

The boys disappeared June 23 after going inside the sprawling Tham Luang cave network through a small entrance which was soon flooded by seasonal monsoon rains. The boys, fitted with thick wetsuits and full-face scuba masks, were guided through dark, flooded passageways towards the mouth of the cave.

The boys in the team were aged between 11 and 16, while their coach was 25. But by this time the cave had become partially flooded and their exit was blocked.

"When the rescuer emerged I said 'Hello, '" Dul said, realizing that the rescuer wasn't Thai but British.

At his point, the realization dawned that they were trapped. "At least we were trying to do something", he said.

"We drank water from stalactites". Ake knew that the water dripping from the roof of the cave would be purer than the dirty floodwater on the floor.

"This is the happiest day of my life", she said.

"Before we slept, I told them, 'Let's say a prayer.' So we said a prayer that night". Instead, Ake described the moment that he heard the sound of flowing water - and saw the levels rising fast. The boys began to fear they were lost. "The vans are leaving", said a Reuters witness, as the boys, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a red graphic of a wild boar with backpacks slung over their shoulders, ran a gauntlet of media cameras to get into the vans. Instead, they filled themselves with water from the cave.

Hours before their release from hospital, Konkum and other family members were busy shopping for Dom.

As the hours passed, the coach told his players to stay calm, urging them to "fight and not be defeated".

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It had been previously reported Australian doctor-diver Richard Harris had helped decide which boys to take out first, reportedly the weakest or the bravest of the boys.

When the divers breached the surface, Ardoon said he was so shocked, all he could think to say was "hello".

"I started to listen and it became reality". So I said I am okay. "He was king of the cave", Titan said.

He said, "The ones whose homes are the furthest went first, so they could tell everyone that the boys were fine".

When we were trapped inside, I immediately thought, 'I am going to get scolded'.

Adul said it had taught him "not to live life carelessly".

They then went to the front of the crowd, where they kicked a soccer ball around for a moment before they were reunited with classmates who had not gone on the cave adventure with them.

All said they want to apologise to their parents, most of whom they had not been informed in advance about the trek to the cave after football practice.

They have asked the media and the public to respect the boys privacy after they are discharged, citing concerns about the sudden impact of media attention on the boys' mental health.

"It was magical", he said. The boys were surprised he wasn't Thai, and they struggled to communicate in English.

Craig Challen, along with his diving partner Richard Harris, were among the team of worldwide divers who were instrumental in the rescue mission which brought an entire soccer team to safety.

Coach Ekkapol said they brought no food into the cave and survived with clean water from the rocks of the cave.

The boys will eventually spend time as novice Buddhist monks to honor the dead diver's memory, their coach said on Wednesday.

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