Thai boys recount their ordeal and rescue

Crowds cheering as the 12 football players and their coach arrive for the news conference in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai yesterday.
Crowds cheering as the 12 football players and their coach arrive for the news conference in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Smiling and waving, the 12 Thai boys and their coach greeted family, friends and members of their medical and rescue team at a press conference yesterday in their first public appearance.

The boys, who spent more than a week in hospital, recounted how they became trapped inside the cave complex near Chiang Rai and how they survived before being found 10 days later.

Many of them apologised to their parents for not telling them about the planned trip to the cave. And in a solemn gesture, they paid tribute to the former Thai navy Seal who died during the rescue operation.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and the 25-year-old coach were in good health and strong mentally, but needed time with their families in order to return to their normal lives, said medical staff.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'Thai boys recount their ordeal and rescue'. Print Edition | Subscribe