MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The Thai hospital where the 12 boys and their soccer coach are recuperating after being rescued from a flooded cave has released video showing them in their hospital beds, smiling and chatting with nurses.
The video shows the boys in an isolation ward in beds with crisp white sheets and wearing green surgical masks.
Some of their parents are seen crying and waving to them from behind glass.
Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, told a news conference involving officials involved in the rescue that “everyone is strong in mind and heart.”
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has thanked people involved in the rescue of the 12 boys and coach trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks.
Prayuth gave a televised national address Wednesday, saying the government’s efforts, the assistance of people in Thailand and abroad, and the outpouring of moral support made the mission a success.
He also acknowledged the loss of a former navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died last week while replenishing air tanks inside the cave. Prayuth said, “His honour, sacrifice and legacy will forever be in our hearts.”
The soccer teammates had become trapped in the cave June 23 and were finally extracted by experienced divers over three days.
A Thai health official says the soccer teammates rescued from a flooded cave lost weight during their two-week ordeal but had water while they were trapped and are in good health.
Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said Wednesday the 12 boys and coach rescued over the three previous days “took care of themselves well in the cave.”
Thongchai said one member of the final group of four boys and the coach who arrived at a hospital Tuesday evening had a slight lung infection.
Two of the first group had a lung infection as well, and Thongchai said they would need medicine for seven days.
Divers extracted the team in a high-risk mission inside the flooded passageways. The group entered the cave June 23 but flooding cut off the exit.
The last member of the rescue team to leave the Thai cave, Australian doctor Richard Harris, has lost his father.
Harris’s boss Andrew Pearce says in a statement the father had died shortly after the last of the 13 soccer team members was freed from the cave.
Pearce says: “This is clearly a time of grief for the Harris family, magnified by the physical and emotional demands of being part of this week’s highly complex and ultimately successful rescue operation.”
Pearce says the anesthetist and experienced cave diver would return to his home in Adelaide city soon. Harris played a part in deciding the order in which the 13 were freed.
Pearce did not say how the father had died and asked for the family’s privacy to be respected.
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