Twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand are recovering well from their ordeal and will be discharged from hospital next week, health minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said on Saturday.
The last of the 12-member “Wild Boars” soccer team and their coach were brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday night, safely ending a perilous rescue and evoking international relief and joy.
The boys and their coach have been in hospital since then.
In a video played at a news conference on Saturday, they appeared well, sitting up in bed, and thanking their rescuers.
“I am in good health now,” said one of the boys, a 14-year-old nicknamed Note.
“Thanks for saving me.”
The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach had planned to explore the cavern complex for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.
Two British divers found them on July 2, squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex.
Then the problem became how to get them back out through the tunnels, some completely full of fast-flowing flood water.
All 13 were brought to safety over the course of a three-day rescue, organised by Thai navy SEALs and an international team of cave-diving experts.
Piyasakol told reporters the health of all 13 had improved. Some had pneumonia when they were brought out of the cave but were recovering, he said.
All will be discharged from hospital in the northern town of Chiang Rai on Thursday, he said.