The world has been captivated by a Thai youth soccer team who had gone missing after a practice and were found trapped in a cave. Fortunately for the boys and their families, they have all been found alive after a few tense weeks.
Now, the first video of the youth since their dramatic rescue has been released, and they can be seen wearing face masks as they recover in a sterilized unit at Chiang Rai Hospital.
Despite their ordeal, the members of the Wild Boars looked happy to simply be alive, as they waved and pressed their palms together in a traditional Thai greeting for the cameras. Watch one of the moving videos, which is one in a series of videos shown at a press conference on July 11:
VIDEO of the #thamluang #thaicaverescue boys in hospital – distributed by the Thai Government’s Incident Command Press Centre – has been released. Wow. pic.twitter.com/WMDF7tPIUO
— James Massola (@jamesmassola) July 11, 2018
For now, their families are only able to see them through glass to protect them from infection, for which they are at high risk. Still their parents appeared extremely grateful that their sons are alive and healthy. Some could be seen crying as they greeted their children from behind the glass:
Wild Boars' parents visit them at Chiang Rai hospital Wed afternoon, overwhelmed by emotions. Many wave to their children, some cry. Doctor confirms everyone is healthy. So are Thai SEALs https://t.co/6JUKDRlUqS pic.twitter.com/2vGQ4W3CGB
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 11, 2018
When the boys were finally found on July 2 after having gone missing nine days earlier, their families were overjoyed. However, their elation quickly turned to worry as concerns about the boys’ health and safety began to loom large.
An international rescue team quickly assembled and began to race against the clock to bring the 12 boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16, as well as their 25-year-old coach, to safety before predicted heavy rains threatened to further compromise the already dangerous situation.
The brave boys were in a weakened state after being trapped in the cave for so long without adequate food and water, and their oxygen levels became critically low. The divers enacted a plan to save the group from their place deep inside the cave, and on July 10, the last of the team members and their coach were successfully rescued.
One ex-Thai Navy SEAL, a volunteer diver, died during the rescue, reportedly after he passed out during a dive.
The rescued youngsters are expected to spend a week recuperating. We’re so glad that the Wild Boars and their coach survived this unthinkable tragedy and are on the road to recovery!