Rescued Thai football team speak to media after leaving hospital

Update 1.05pm: The 12 boys and their football coach who were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand have appeared at a news conference, entering to applause from the media and classmates.

The boys put on a quick demonstration of their skills in a special miniature football field set up in the hall in Chiang Rai where the conference took place.

They then hugged their friends before taking seats alongside doctors and others who helped them during their ordeal.

Medics took the first two questions, and said the 13 were healthy in body and mind.

Doctors added that the boys gained around 6.6lbs on average since they were rescued from the cave last week.

They were said to have lost an average of 9lbs during the 18 days they were trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai.

The news conference was the first opportunity the members of the team had to speak directly to the media, though video of them was released previously. Officials reviewed questions in advance to make certain none might cause damaging psychological effects.

They were asked about the moment when two British cave divers first found them and also the circumstances of how they entered the cave and became trapped there.

The Wild Boars team had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for what was to be a relaxing excursion after football practice. Heavy rain began falling while they were underground, and water filled the caverns, cutting off their escape.

British divers found the group huddling on a spot of dry ground deep inside the cave nearly 10 days later, hungry but generally healthy.

An international team of rescuers using diving equipment and pulleys extracted the 12 boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach through the tight, flooded passageways over three days, concluding on July 10.

British divers who were instrumental in the cave rescue (Steve Parsons/PA)

Some of the boys were treated for minor infections during their hospital stay, but all 13 have been described as recovering well.

The family of one of the boys is preparing their home for his return on Wednesday night.

Banphot Konkum, an uncle who has raised 13-year-old Duangpetch Promthep, said he will have a renovated bedroom and gifts awaiting him.

“We’ll do whatever he wants. If he wants anything we’ll buy it for him as a present as we promised that when he gets out, whatever he wants we’ll do it for him,” Mr Banphot said.

Update 11am: Live: Rescued Thai football team speak to media after leaving hospital

The Thai footballers who were rescued from a flooded cave in a daring international operation after being trapped for more than two weeks have now left hospital.

Twelve boys areholding a news conference before they return to their homes.

The rescued players pose with a sketch of the Thai navy diver who died while trying to rescue them (Ministry of Health/Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital/AP)

The youngsters and their 25-year-old coach have been pronounced generally healthy by doctors, aside from some minor infections.

The news conference, held in a government building, is the first opportunity the members of the team have had to speak directly to the media, though some video of them was released previously.

Officials are reviewing questions in advance to make certain none might cause damaging psychological effects.

Earlier: Football team rescued from Thai cave expected to leave hospital

The youth football team rescued after 18 days trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are expected to be released from hospital and to speak about their ordeal.

A news conference with the 12 boys and their coach is being arranged in the northern city of Chiang Rai, where the boys have been recovering hospital since last week.

A conference hall being prepared as the venue for the news conference was decorated as a football pitch.

Government spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said doctors, social workers and psychologists will be at the news conference to filter questions and ensure the boys’ well-being.

The media will not be allowed to interview the boys after the news conference.

The Wild Boars team-mates had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for a quick, relaxing excursion after practice, but rain began falling while they were underground, and the water filled the caverns, cutting off their escape.

Divers found the group huddling on a spot of dry ground deep inside the cave 10 days later, hungry but generally healthy.

An international team of rescuers using diving equipment and pulleys extracted the 12 boys and the coach through the tight, flooded passageways over three days, concluding on July 10.

Some of the boys were treated for minor infections during their hospital stay, but all 13 have been described as recovering well.

- Press Association

 

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