BANGKOK (Bernama): After their miraculous rescue from the flooded Tham Luang cave in north Thailand earlier this week, the young footballers from the Mu Pa (Wild Boars) team and their coach appeared in a video clip on Saturday (July 14) looking healthy and jovial.
Speaking from their beds at Chiang Rai's Prachanukroh Hospital, the boys – who are still clad in hospital gowns and wearing surgical masks – appear happy and thank everyone for helping them get through the ordeal.
"Sawasdee krub (Hello), my name is Note, now I am healthy. Thank you for helping us all," said one of the young footballers, Prajak Sutham, 13, who goes by the nickname "Note".
Another boy, Nattawut Takamsai, 14, or "Dom", said he wanted to savour his favourite local dish when he is discharged.
"Sawasdee krub, I am Dom. I am healthy and I want to eat stewed pork on rice (his favourite dish). Thank you, thank you for all the support," said the bubbly boy.
"Tle" or Duangpet Promthep, 13, also spoke of his desire to eat his favourite dish Phad Krapao (Holy Basil Thai Fried Rice).
Their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, 25, or affectionately known as "Coach" among the boys and has been hailed as the real hero for keeping them safe while trapped inside the cave, said he was feeling better, healthier and had been eating well.
"First and foremost, I would like thank all the people, all ministries for helping us and also the prime minister (General Prayut Chan-o-cha) and all the Royal Thai Navy's SEAL divers and doctors," he said, adding that he longed to eat fried rice.
The boys and their coach went inside the cave after football practice on June 23, but could not go out as water from heavy rain flooded the cave and pushed them further back into the cave.
Alarmed after they failed to return home, families made a police report which sparked the beginning of a massive, multinational search and rescue mission.
All 13 boys and the coach were finally rescued in a risky operation many deemed as "mission impossible", which began last Sunday and took three days to complete.
Meanwhile In CHIANG RAI, Thai public health minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn after visiting the rescued boys said their health and mental condition was improving after several days in the hospital.
"The boys are also receiving antibiotics scheduled for at least seven days. Their parents are allowed to visit their children but under standard hospital prevention and control protocol measures," he said, adding that the boys' laboratory results were negative for dangerous infectious diseases.
Sakolsatayadorn said there were two main concerns, with the first for them being more susceptible to infectious diseases or pathogens, and the second, to ensure that they recover from any possible psychological effects.
Doctors and psychiatrist had recommended that they spend time with family and friends for at least a month and avoid all media exposure as it could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. – Bernama