Thai cave boys pray for fortune at temple

Thai cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance since rescue

Doctors are still concerned about their health, so the boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16, are being kept in a controlled environment for observation.

"Bringing the Wild Boars Home", read a banner in Thai welcoming them on the set, created to resemble a soccer pitch, complete with goalposts and nets.

The Thai football team rescued in a cave gifted Croatian Shirts. That is what the soccer team is called.

The boys' friends gathered to greet them on the set for the broadcast, created to resemble a soccer field, complete with goalposts, nets and scattered with black-and-white footballs, while benches stood on a dais for the boys to sit on.

One of the boys, Adul Sam-On, 14, described the moment when the British divers found them in the cave on July 2, 10 days after the children and their coach had entered the cave.

"It was magical", he said.

"I told them: Don't worry, the water might just rise and fall, and tomorrow it might go down", Ekapol said.

Many journalists left after the last four boys and their coach were brought out safely last week.

Nine days passed before the boys were found by two British rescue divers.

"I know my mom is going to punish me and I am in big trouble with my mother", one of the boys said when asked what he expected to happen when he got home.

Boys from the Thai soccer team who were trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks have been released from the hospital and met with media on Wednesday in Chiang Rai, Thailand to talk about their harrowing ordeal.

The group had planned to explore the Tham Luang cave complex after football practice on June 23, but a monsoon downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.

Thai cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance since rescue

This contrasted to an average of 4kg lost during the more than two weeks they were trapped.

Viboonrungruang said his son, nicknamed Titun, had told him their coach, Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, had told the boys to run away from the water and go to higher ground.

"We are planning the date and will do it whenever all the families are all ready", Banphot said. "But it was the only option we had, and we took it". "We dug 3 to 4 meters".

The group had no food on a trip which they thought would only last an hour in the cave.

One boy described feeling dizzy with hunger and said the team had survived by drinking water that trickled down the cave walls.

But water levels did not recede and they made a decision to try and dig their way out while waiting for rescue teams to come and find them, Ekapol said.

The 11 boys and the coach - the remaining team member is reportedly a Muslim - were joined by relatives and friends at the temple in the northern province of Chiang Rai, where they sat and put their hands together to the tune of chanting monks.

"I have to praise the coach who took care of the footballers very well", Lertvirairatanapong said.

"I was really afraid that I wouldn't be able to return home", 13-year-old Mongkol Boonpiem, recalled.

Saman Kunan retired from the military in 2006 and worked at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport before volunteering to help when news broke of the boys being trapped.

In one poignant and emotional moment, a portrait was displayed of Saman Gunan, the former Thai navy SEAL diver who died in the rescue attempt, and the team members showed their gratitude and respect for him.

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