Thai cave rescue: Tearful reunion as parents catch first glimpse of boys
CHIANG RAI: The parents of the 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team shed tears of relief and joy on Wednesday afternoon (Jul 11) when they visited them at Chiang Rai hospital.
The first video of the Thai boys recovering in hospital was shown at a news conference by the chief of the Thai rescue operation Narongsak Osottanakorn.
It showed them waving from their hospital beds, looking thin but fine after more than two weeks trapped in a flooded Tham Luang cave complex, an ordeal that has gripped the world.
Parents are seen in the video crying and waving to their children through glass windows. The boys are being quarantined while they recover from their ordeal.
Narongsak Osottanakorn confirmed that all 12 boys and their coach are recovering well, and doctors have said there is no need to worry about their physical and mental health.
“Don’t worry about 13 wild boars,” said a doctor, adding that the survivors are “healthy and strong” and that the Thai SEALS are even stronger.
The group ventured into the vast cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after football practice on Jun 23 and were trapped when a rainy season downpour flooded tunnels.
Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters at the news conference that the boys were just being children when they got lost 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,” he said.
The rescue chief also revealed that the operation was speeded up because of falling oxygen levels within the cave complex, as well as expected downpours and possible rise of water levels.
Narongsak also paid tribute to former Thai SEAL diver Saman Kunan, who died in the attempt to save the boys, saying his sacrifice added to the team’s determination to complete their mission.
Said the SEAL Navy commander: “It was difficult but we had to keep fighting. Otherwise, there would have been no hope for the 13 footballers.”