Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Thai Football Team Rescued in Cave Gifted Croatian Shirts

Thai Football Team Rescued in Cave Gifted Croatian Shirts

The 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave will make their first public appearance on Wednesday when they hold a nationally-televised news conference in Chiang Rai.

During their first press conference since the rescue operation, the entire junior football team appeared upbeat and healthy, and shared their frightful experiences of when they were trapped in the cave.

The news conference did not feature back-and-forth discussions; instead, journalists submitted questions for the team submitted their questions in advance, according to the Thai Public Broadcasting Service.

One of the boys, Adul Sam-On, 14, described the moment when the British divers found them in the cave on July 2, 10 days after the children and their coach had entered the cave.

"It was very magical", he said. "Then I asked Mig (another boy) to give me a searchlight and I looked at the water", he said.

The boys were greeted by cheers and applause as they arrived at Chiang Rai's provincial hall after being discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

Thai Football Team Rescued in Cave Gifted Croatian Shirts
Thai Football Team Rescued in Cave Gifted Croatian Shirts

"When they came out of the water, I was surprised", Adul, who acted as the group's interpreter, said. "Everyone was strong and no one was sick", he told the press.

They were all brought out after more than two weeks underground by rescue teams led by Thai navy Seal divers.

The group had planned to explore the Tham Luang cave complex for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. When they went to leave, they realised they were trapped. They took turns digging at the cave walls, hoping to find a way out.

Majority also said they want to become professional footballers in the future.

One of the boys added, "We used stones to dig in the cave". That represents a depth of 3.3 to 4.4 yards.

Their efforts were to no avail, Ekkapol said, adding: "Almost everyone can swim".

Ekapol added that numerous boys had been inside the cave before, and that they had discussed going into the cave prior to their practice.

The group, who had eaten before going into the caves, took no food on an excursion that was supposed to last only an hour, and had to subsist on water dripping from stalactites, he said. "It's for their protection", a grandfather of one of the boys tells the BBC.

It wasn't until two days had passed that they started feeling weak and the coach advised them to stay close together to conserve energy and heat. "I tried not to think about food so I didn't get more hungry", he told reporters.

One boy was anxious about his parents. "I know that I will get yelled at by mom when I get home", said Pornchai Kamluang, 16.

Boys wore full-face masks and were attached to divers on either end, who guided them through the cave's winding chambers.

The first part of the journey involved some diving. Approved questions will be put to the boys by a moderator. Excitement picked up again in the usually sleepy town of Chiang Rai ahead of the much-anticipated 90-minute live broadcast on dozens of channels.

A government official asked the boys' privacy to be respected as they returned home after the event.

"We want the boys to have regular lives and go back to school have time with families and activities they like", said psychologist Patchaneewan Inta.

Some of the rescued team members bowing their heads respectfully in front of a sketch of the former Thai Navy Seal diver who died while trying to rescue them.

Towards the end of their introduction to the world the Wild Boars were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up.

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