Thai Boys Rescued From Cave Address the World After Being Released From the Hospital

July 18, 2018, 6:13 PM UTC

The Thai boys who captured the world’s heart during their perilous rescue from Tham Luang Cave in northern Thailand have been released from the hospital.

The 12 soccer players and their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, addressed the press at a news conference Wednesday. The Wild Boars team entered to cheers, dressed in their team attire and dribbling soccer balls.

Throughout the conference, the boys stressed that they were very sorry for the ordeal, the New York Times reports. The boys said they hadn’t told their parents they were going adventuring in the cave, fearing they wouldn’t be given permission, instead saying it was a regular soccer practice.

“I would like to apologize to Dad and Mom,” said Phanumas Saengdee, 13, who said he secretly slipped a flashlight into his soccer bag for the cave exploration.

The boys and their coach survived in the cave for more than two weeks. At the press conference, they spoke of their experience and described their rescue as a miracle. With no food, the team “drank water that fell from the rocks,” one boy said. When they realized the floods were not subsiding after the first night, the boys tried to dig their way out of the cave using stones, CNN reports.

When the two British divers found the boys and their coach on July 2, nine days after becoming trapped, 14-year-old Adun Sam-On said, “We didn’t know if it was real or not.”

“They got out of the water, and I was surprised they were not Thai. I didn’t know what to say so I said, ‘Hello,'” he continued. “It was a miracle.”

The boys were thankful to the Thai Navy SEALS and everyone who helped with their rescue. At the conference, they somberly presented a picture of 38-year-old former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan, who died during the cave rescue while placing oxygen canisters along the diver’s path. The boys had written thank you notes to the diver.

“Everyone was very sad,” Coach Ekkapol said, according to Al Jazeera. “They felt like they were the reason he had to die and his family had to suffer.”

Lt. Col. Phak Lohanchun, an army doctor and diver involved with the rescue, said in a Facebook post that he was impressed with the boys’ behavior throughout the ordeal, the Times reports.

“Every boy on the Wild Boar team fully understands the sacrifice everyone went through searching for them,” he said. “I have confidence that the Wild Boar boys will grow into great humans for this country, and be valuable and prominent in Thailand.”