(International-95) The story of how the Thai football players and their coach escaped alive from a complex cave in Thailand…






















Thailand cave rescue: First footage emerges of boys in hospital
• Thailand cave rescue
The first footage has emerged from the hospital where 12 Thai boys and their coach are being treated after their dramatic rescue from a flooded cave.
Several boys can be seen in facemasks and hospital gowns, at least one giving a victory sign for the camera.
Meanwhile, reports say the boys and the coach were sedated to stop them panicking during the dangerous rescue.
The Thai Navy Seals also released new video showing the three-day rescue operation that captivated the world.
Divers who took part in the operation said the boys were heavily sedated to avoid anxiety as they went through the dark, narrow, underwater passageways.
Former Navy seal Chaiyananta Peeranarong told AFP news agency: “Some of them were asleep, and some of them were wiggling their fingers, kind of groggy – but they were breathing. My job was to transfer them along.”
Each boy was strapped to one of two rescue divers tasked with shepherding him, and bundled onto stretchers to be carried through the dry parts.
Rescuers carry one of the boys on a stretcher
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Media captionRescuers carry one of the boys on a stretcher
‘A tiny bit of hope’
Earlier on Wednesday, the head of the Thai Navy Seals told the BBC that “hope became reality” with the rescue of the boys and their coach from the Tham Luang cave.
“We had a little bit of hope that they might still be alive but we had to do it, we just had to move forward,” Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew said. “There was only a tiny bit of hope, but that’s all we had to work with.”
were able to see the boys from a separate room
The group was trapped in the cave by rising water and rescued in a dramatic operation that captivated the world.
The complex, three-day rescue saw four boys emerge on Sunday, four on Monday, and the final four boys plus their coach on Tuesday. They survived the nine days before they were found by drinking water dripping from the cave walls, officials said.
out of the cave
The boys lost on average 2kg (4.4lb) during their ordeal but are said to be in good physical condition. They will remain in hospital in the nearby city of Chiang Rai for a week, followed by a week’s recuperation at home.
The first four boys have already been visited by their families, officials said, and the others will be allowed to receive visitors soon.
There were cheers around the cave as the dozens of divers and hundreds of other rescue workers involved in the operation left the site.
In Chiang Rai, the news was greeted by the honking of car horns while people gathered outside the hospital broke into applause.
On social media, Thais showed their feelings about the rescuers by using hashtags including #Heroes and #Thankyou. Offers of hospitality for the boys, the coach and their rescuers have come in from international football clubs including Manchester United and Benfica.
How did the drama unfold?
Aged between about 11 and 17, the members of the Wild Boars football team entered the cave system in dry weather, during an excursion with their coach. The group was cut off on 23 June after heavy rains flooded the cave complex.
They were huddled in darkness on a ledge when they were found by British divers.
Elation at the discovery of the group quickly turned to concern as it became clear how difficult it would be to rescue boys who could not swim and had been weakened by their time underground.

Getting to and from the chamber where the group were trapped was an exhausting round trip even for experienced divers. The process involved a mixture of walking, wading, climbing and diving along guide ropes.
How did the boys survive?
The boys and their coach were trapped underground for a total of 17 days.
They reportedly entered the cave to celebrate one of the team’s birthday, and the snacks they brought with them are thought to have helped sustain them.
Once found, they were given “easy-to-digest, high-energy food with vitamins and minerals, under the supervision of a doctor”, said Rear Adm Arpakorn Yuukongkaew.
brought them food, light and letters from their parents to help them cope
Authorities said they seemed to cope well with the mental strain of their time underground. Rescue teams brought them lights and letters from their parents to help them cope.
Their coach, Ekapol Chantawong, reportedly taught the team how to meditate to cope with the stress. He trained for a decade as a Buddhist monk before turning to football.

Cave rescue: Who are the 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in Thailand?
12 boys were all rescued and taken to hospital
On 23 June, 12 boys and their football coach walked into a cave after football practice in northern Thailand.
The boys, who are part of the Moo Pa – or Wild Boars – football team, became trapped when heavy rains flooded the Tham Luang cave and cut off their escape route.
All 12 boys and their coach have been freed from the cave.
Few details about the group have been released. Here is what we know about the boys and their coach:
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Chanin Vibulrungruang (Nickname: Titan), 11
The youngest in the team, who played as a forward. Titan started playing football at age seven before joining his school’s sports club.
He was later invited to join the Wild Boars football club.
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Panumas Sangdee (Nickname: Mig), 13
According to Nopparat Kantawong, the head coach of the football team, Mig is bigger than other kids his age, but he is agile.
He is a defender for the Wild Boars.
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Duganpet Promtep (Nickname: Dom), 13
Striker, and captain of the Wild Boars, Dom has reportedly been scouted by several professional clubs in Thailand.
He is said to be a motivator and respected by his team for his football skills.
“Players on the field need a captain like this because sometimes the coach can’t get in to solve their problems,” Nopparat told the BBC.
Adul was born in Myanmar’s self-governing Wa State and left his family behind to get a better education in Thailand, according to reports.
The left defender speaks Thai, Burmese, Chinese and English, and was the only one able to communicate with the British divers when the group was first discovered.
While trapped in the cave, the boys and their relatives exchanged letters, carried by the rescue divers. Adul told his parents he missed them and not to worry.
“Mum and Dad want to see your face,” his parents wrote. “Mum and Dad pray for you and your friends, so we can see each other soon.”
Adul is also a talented volleyball player – and part of a local team that came second in all of northern Thailand two years in a row, local teacher Bunjob Chai-arm told the BBC.
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Somepong Jaiwong (Nickname: Pong), 13
“Pong is a cheerful boy, he likes football, and every sport. He dreams of becoming a footballer for the Thai national team,” his teacher Manutsanun Kuntun told AFP.
The left winger wrote to his parents from inside the cave, saying: “I love Dad and Mum. Don’t worry about me, I’m safe.”
His parents replied: “Take good care of yourself and be strong – Dad, Mum and everyone are waiting for you.”
Mark has been described by his teacher as a “very respectful” boy.
“He’s cheerful, energetic, very friendly, and likes football and volleyball,” Bunjob Chai-arm told the BBC.
Mark and his mother had moved to Thailand from Myanmar, he added. He plays in the same volleyball team as Adul.
His father Thinnakorn Boonpiem told AFP that his son is a “good boy” who loves to study – almost as much as football.
In a letter to his parents, Tern told them not to worry about him.
The defender wrote that he missed his parents and grandparents, but “Tern can take care of myself”.
“Dad and mum are not angry at you and do not blame you,” his parents replied, adding that they were waiting for him “in front of the cave.”
Night plays as right winger on the team.
He went missing on his birthday and his parents say they are still waiting to hold his party.
According to reports, the boys went into the cave to celebrate Night’s birthday. They were said to have brought treats and snacks along with them.
These supplies probably helped sustain the group in the many days spent trapped inside the cave.
Sittthisak Sawanrak, who goes to the same cycling club as Night, describes him as “a great lad who just loves to cycle and play football”.
“He’s a quiet boy – doesn’t talk much, but a very good, polite boy,” he told the BBC.
In a letter to his parents from the cave, Night wrote: “Night loves everyone” and drew several hearts.
Bew is the goalkeeper of the team. In a letter to his mother, Bew promised to help her sell things at her shop once he was rescued.
Note has been described by family friends as a “smart, quiet guy who loves sport and supports Chiang Rai United”.
Family friend Ponrawee Tachavandee told the BBC he was “shocked” when he learned Note was trapped. “I didn’t expect he would go inside the cave.”
Rinlinee Sombat, who works in the same garage as Note’s father, describes him as a kind boy who takes care of his two-year-old sister, and enjoys playing with her young son.
“He’s a smart kid – when you teach him how to fix something in the garage, he’ll learn how to do it after just one go,” she told the BBC.
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Pipat Pho (Nickname: Nick), 15
In his letter, Nick told his parents he wants to go for Mookatha, or Thai barbeque, when he comes out of the cave.
“Nick loves Mum, Dad and siblings,” he wrote, alongside a drawing of a heart.
Image copyrightFACEBOOK
Pornchai Kamluang (Nickname: Tee), 16
Tee is a defender for the Wild Boars.
“Don’t worry, I’m very happy”, said Tee in a letter to his parents.
Assistant coach Ekapol Chantawong (Nickname: Ake), 25
Ake was reportedly born in Myanmar and lost his parents at a young age.
Before becoming a football coach, he spent several years as a Buddhist monk, and learnt how to conserve energy by restricting movements and meditating. According to local news reports, he taught these techniques to the boys in the cave.
In his letter, Ake apologised to the parents for taking the boys into the cave network, but several replied to say they did not blame him.
“I promise I will take care of the kids as best as I can,” Ake wrote.
group of boys and their coach were found after nine days
Some media reports suggest that when the group was found Ake was the weakest, having refused to eat any of the food they had brought with them, giving it instead to the boys.
His note also included a message to both his aunt and grandmother, informing them that he was “fine”.
“Do not worry too much about me. Take good care of your health,” he wrote, adding: “Please prepare vegetable juice and pork rind for me. I’ll have them when I can get out. Thanks.”


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