Thai soccer team released from hospital, recount details of cave ordeal, 'magical' rescue

Boys from the Thai soccer team who were trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks have been released from the hospital and met with media on Wednesday in Chiang Rai, Thailand to talk about their harrowing ordeal.

The 12 boys ages 11 to 16 wore Wild Boars uniforms and gave a soccer demonstration ahead of the conference before a doctor told media members that the boys and their 25-year-old coach were healthy physically and mentally and gaining back weight lost while trapped in the cave.

Thai soccer team did not take food on cave excursion

The team had only planned for a one-hour excursion into the cave prior to soccer practice and did not have food packed for the trip.

“We only drank water,” a boy nicknamed Tee said, via Reuters translation. “On the first day we were OK, but after two days we started feeling tired.”

Youth soccer players saved from a flooded Thailand cave recounted the “magical” rescue after being trapped for days without food. (Reuters)

Prior to the arrival of rescue divers, the team subsisted on water dripping from stalactites in the cave, coach Ekkapol Chantawong told reporters. Ekkapol also said the team took turns digging at cave walls and made more than 10 feet of progress to no avail.

Coach: The boys could all swim

Ekkapol also said that all of the boys could swim, which contradicts some reports during their entrapment. But he added that they weren’t all strong swimmers. Divers ended up outfitting the boys with full scuba gear to navigate a treacherous, hours-long path out of the cave. 

Rescue was ‘magical’

Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on recalled the moment when British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen discovered them more than a week after they had been lost.

“It was magical,” he said via Reuters translation. “I had to think a lot before I could answer their questions. Everybody was happy, it was the most hopeful moment in 10 days.”

Ekkapol implied that none of the boys saw their health reach dire status in the cave and that the order they were rescued over a three-day effort was determined by how far away they lived.

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

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