Thailand cave rescue: First video of boys in hospital emerge

The boys, who wore surgical masks and laying on their beds, will spend 10 days recovering in Chiang Rai hospital.

    The first video of the 12 boys and their coach who were saved from a cave in northern Thailand after 17 days trapped in a flooded tunnel has been released, showing them smiling and waving from their hospital beds.

    The video, which was made public during a news conference on Wednesday, showed the boys looking thin but fine after an ordeal that has gripped the world.

    The video of the boys in hospital in Chiang Rai showed some of them wearing surgical masks and laying on their beds. Some sat and made the "peace sign" gesture for the camera.

    None of the boys was heard speaking in the clips shown at the news conference.

    From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed. The children were well taken care of in the cave. Most of the boys lost an average of 2kg

    Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand\'s health department

    Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand's health department, briefed reporters on the status of the Wild Boars football team on Wednesday. 

    "From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed. The children were well taken care of in the cave. Most of the boys lost an average of 2kg," he said.

    Three in the group had minor lung infections, the senior health official added.

    They will spend 10 days recovering in hospital after having been trapped inside the cave for more than two weeks.

    Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said that the boys were just being children when they went missing and no one was to blame.

    "We don't see the children as at fault or as heroes. They are children being children, it was an accident," Narongsak said.

    Rescue operation

    The last group of the 12-member football team and their coach was brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday night, safely ending a dangerous rescue and evoking international relief and joy.

    The football team was rescued in batches over the course of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in a high-risk operation.

    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha thanked people involved in the rescue in a televised address on Wednesday and said the mission had succeeded because of government efforts, the assistance of people within and outside of Thailand and an outpouring of moral support.

    Acknowledging the 38-year-old former military diver who died while preparing the rescue, Prayuth said: "his honour, sacrifice and legacy will forever be in our hearts".

    The death of Saman Kunan, who passed out while placing oxygen canisters along the route divers had to take to get the children out, highlighted the danger involved in the three-day operation.

    The multi-hour journey the team had to make towards the cave's mouth reportedly included navigating passageways as narrow as 40 centimetres while some of the boys did not know how to swim.

    US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May were among those congratulating the team on their safe return on social media.

    "Delighted to see the successful rescue of those trapped in the caves in Thailand. The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved," May tweeted.

    Hooyah

    The catchphrase "Hooyah" was trending on Twitter after Thai Navy SEALs used it repeatedly on their Facebook page as a rallying cry during the operation.

    All four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission inside a cave [The Associated Press]

    Meanwhile, parents are anxiously waiting to be reunited with their children, something that might yet take some time due to doctors' fears over infections.

    The families of the four boys rescued on Sunday were allowed to visit them on Monday evening, but they were kept separated by a glass window.

    Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen spoke with Adisak Wongsukchan, the father of 14-year-old Nong Bew who was among the four boys rescued on Monday.

    "Of course he was extremely happy," Vaessen said. "He said the only thing I want to do now is hug my son, embrace him and ask him how he's feeling."

    On Tuesday, the Thai prime minister said he wanted safety measures put in place at the cave site.

    "In future, we have to monitor the entrance and exit to the cave. This cave has become world famous … we have to install more lights inside the cave and put up signs," Prayuth told reporters in Bangkok.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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