Boys rescued from cave in Thailand, likely to be released Thursday

(ABC NEWS)- The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were recently rescued from a cave in northern Thailand have appeared in video messages from their hospital beds, in which they each thanked officials and well-wishers for their help and support.


Clad in patient gowns and surgical masks, the boys sat up in their beds at a hospital in Chiang Rai province as they individually gave brief statements, filmed Friday and released by officials at a press conference Saturday.


Adul Sam-on, 14, delivered his in English.


“Hello, I am Adul,” he said to the camera. “Now, I am very fine. I am very thank you for help me. Thank you so much.”


The other boys, who spoke in Thai, echoed Adul’s sentiments of gratitude and joy, and mentioned which foods they look forward to eating.


“I am healthy,” said Panumas Saengdee, 13. “Thank you for worrying about us and coming to help us. Don’t worry anymore. I am safe now.”


“I want to eat [crispy pork belly stir fry],” said Pornchai Kamluang, 16. “Thank you everybody who support us and who send us inspiration. We want to thank you.”


“I am healthy,” said Sompong Jaiwong, 13. “I want to eat [stir-fried pork with basil and fried egg]. I want to thank you everybody who give us support and everybody from all over the world who come to helps us. Thank you.”


The boys’ 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, gave his thanks to doctors, the Royal Thai Navy and the prime minister.


“Now, I am healthy like normal, can eat normal,” Ekapol said in Thai. “Thank you [everyone] who support us and every ministry that help me.”


Officials at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital told reporters at Saturday’s press conference that all 13 are tentatively scheduled to be discharged Thursday.


Thailand’s public health minister, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, said the group is “physically active and healthy.”


Some of the boys lost as much as 11 pounds during their ordeal. Now, a majority of them have each gained 4 pounds since being rescued.


“Everyone is healthy, no fever and strong,” Piyasakol said in Thai at the press conference Saturday. “They all have a good appetite and want to eat so many kinds of food.”


Piyasakol said family members no longer need to wear surgical masks when visiting the patients and can now stay at their bedsides, rather than being kept at a distance — a protection against infection which doctors instituted in the first days after the group was hospitalized.


Blood tests results showed no signs of infectious diseases that they might have contracted during their weeks stranded deep within a partly flooded cave near the village of Pong Pha. The group must complete a seven-day course of antibiotics prescribed by doctors, according to a statement released Thursday by Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the public health ministry.



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