Wed. 10 a.m.: Rescued Thai boys ‘strong in mind and heart’
MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The 12 boys rescued from deep within a flooded cave in northern Thailand made two-finger victory signs from their hospital beds this morning in a moving video from the isolation ward where they’re recuperating from their 18-day ordeal.
The youngest, 11, appeared asleep under a crisp white sheet while others, including their 25-year-old soccer coach, sat in bed, their faces obscured by green surgical masks.
Nurses chatted with them and the boys responded with the customary Thai sign of respect — hands pressed together while bowing the head.
Parents watched and waved from behind a glass barrier, their faces vivid with emotion.
“Don’t need to worry about their physical health and even more so for their mental health,” said Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.
“Everyone is strong in mind and heart,” he said Tuesday at a news conference of officials involved in the high-risk rescue effort.
The four boys and soccer coach brought out Tuesday on the final day of an all-out three-day push to save all of them had recovered more quickly than the boys rescued on Sunday and Monday, Chaiwetch said.
Even so, all need to be monitored in the hospital for seven days and then rest at home for another 30 days, he said. Three have slight lung infections.
Another video released on Facebook by Thailand’s Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue, apparently shows one of the boys being carried through part of the muddy cave on a stretcher covered by an emergency thermal blanket.
The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains soon filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape. They were found by a pair of British divers nearly 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, smiling with relief but visibly skinny.
The complex mission for international and Thai divers to guide the boys and coach through the cave’s flooded and tight passageways riveted people worldwide. Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL volunteering to work on the rescue efforts died Friday while replenishing oxygen canisters that were placed along the escape route.