Thai Cave Rescue: Team To Be Released From Hospital July 19, Give Thanks In New Video
The Wild Boars team are set to begin their next phase of recovery.
Twelve Thai boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand will be discharged from hospital next week.
The last group of the 12-member "Wild Boars" soccer team and their coach was brought out of the Tham Luang cave on Tuesday night, safely ending a dangerous rescue and evoking international relief and joy.
The boys and their coach are recovering both physically and mentally and will be discharged from hospital on Thursday, July 19, health minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said on Saturday.
"We need to prepare both the children and their families for the attention they will receive when they come out," he said.
Family members, who until now have only been able to see the rescued children through a glass window for risk of infection, are also now able to meet face-to-face.
The boys sent their thanks to rescuers and the scores of concerned onlookers around the world in a video released by Chiang Rai Hospital on Saturday, assuring everyone they are strong, healthy and ready to go home.
“I’m strong, thanks for caring. Thanks for coming to help. You don’t need to worry anymore, I’m safe," one boy said.
“Thank you for caring about us," said another.
Among much appreciation for the Navy SEAL's who saved them was an excitement for the food waiting for them at home.
“I’m normal and better now, I want to eat sushi. Thank you to the seals that came to help and everyone that encouraged us," the group's youngest boy said.
Several others are eagerly awaiting their favourite pork dishes.
The news comes after it was revealed the boys and their coach had only planned to explore the cave complex for about an hour when they became trapped on June 23.
"He told me that as soon as they finished practice they went to play at the cave. They thought they'd only be an hour," Banpot Korncam, father of the 13-year-old captain of the Wild Boars team, told media.
"While they were inside the cave it rained, water flowed in and everyone took off," Banpot said.
Two British divers found the boys nine days later, squatting on a muddy mound in a flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex.
"They just sat quietly without doing anything because it was dark," said Banpot, recounting what his son, who is still in hospital, had told him.
"When they were hungry coach Ek would use a flashlight to shine on the stalactites above," he said.
The group survived by drinking water that dripped off the stalactites and the cave walls, rescue officials said.