Thai youth soccer players rescued from cave meet the media

Thai youth soccer players rescued from cave meet the media

The group was freed from the cave eight days ago after a dramatic rescue effort that left one Thai Navy SEAL dead after he ran out of oxygen trying to dive out of the flooded cave.

They quickly learned their path out was blocked by floodwaters, Chanthawong, 25, said. They asked how are you?

The Wild Boars teammates had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for a quick, relaxing excursion after soccer practice.

Sitting beside the boys were the Thai Navy SEALs who stayed inside the cave with them after they were found, as well as members of the medical team who looked after them after the rescue.

Many in the group began to feel thirsty and hungry, they said, with the group stumbling across freshwater trickling down the side of a cave wall about 650 feet up a rock. At the cave's intersection, they saw waters rising and knew that was not an option.

Team members took turns introducing themselves, telling reporters which position they play.

Authorities said that more than 100 questions were sent in from members of the media, though only a handful were selected.

Their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, known as "Ake", revealed the team had never been in the cave before but had seen posts about it on Facebook and chose to explore, The Guardian reported. "Then we went quieter and realized it was real", he said, according to NBC News.

With a routine of digging, breaks for water and meditation, a group of young Thai soccer players and their coach stayed alive while trapped in a cave without any food for nine days before they were found by two British divers in a remarkable search-and-rescue operation that gripped the world.

"We tried not to think of food, like fried rice, because it would make us hungrier", he said.

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"I was shocked." He rushed down to meet the two divers, Britons Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, who found them almost ten... After they were rescued from the cave on July 10, the team were placed under observation at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital where their physical and mental condition was checked.

Asked what the moment was like when they finally were found in the cave - and got their first sign of hope - one of the boys, Adul Sam-On, told the media that they had heard a unusual noise but that "we were not sure if it was a hallucination". Adul said, "This experience teaches me not to live life carelessly".

Everyone was very happy to be found, the boys said.

Life inside the cave was hard for them, one young footballer, seated next to coach Ek, said.

"We felt guilty, because of his death", the coach said, before some of his players read out messages of condolences they'd written for the diver's family.

When the hour was up, they were pretty deep inside and already had swum through some flooded areas in the spirit of adventure. "I didn't know how to respond", Adun said.

The boys smiled, joked and laughed as they told their stories and thanked the Navy SEALs who got them out.

Asked what the moment was like when they finally were found in the cave - and they got their first sign of hope, one the boys, Adun Sam-on, told the media that they heard a noise, but, he added, "We were not sure if it was a hallucination".

"I wanted to apologize to my parents".

The miraculous rescue came after meticulous planning and teamwork among Thai and global emergency workers and divers. Tragedy struck when former Thai navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died during work to place air tanks along the escape route. Ake thought the rescued kids would go straight home and those who got out first could spread the word, not realizing the global media had descended on the cave. "We want the boys to have regular lives and go back to school have time with families and activities they like", said psychologist Patchaneewan Inta.

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