Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trapped boys thought they were hallucinating when rescuers arrived

Trapped boys thought they were hallucinating when rescuers arrived

They were trapped more than a mile from the main entrance, and rescue divers had to navigate tight passages to retrieve them.

The rescue operation turned into a almost three-week-long story of survival, worldwide collaboration and triumph over the impossible, which touches the global nerves.

The briefing was closely monitored, with experts warning of possible long-term distress from the more than two weeks they spent trapped inside a cramped, flooded chamber of the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

The team chose to enter the cave after their soccer practice on June 23, 25-year-old coach Ekapol Chanthawong told reporters on Wednesday.

He added that they will be temporarily ordained as Buddhist monks in tribute to the diver.

Thai Cave Map 4x3
Skye Gould Business Insider

A doctor who treated the boys said they have each gained an average of 3kg in weight since their rescue.

The boys initially thought they could exit from another part of the cave.

Majority also said they want to become professional footballers in the future.

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

Ekapol said the group did not have any food with them inside the cave and had only water to drink.

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The team relied on dripping stalactites in the cave as their water source.

Video of the moment the boys - dressed in green, white and black uniforms emblazoned with a red wild boar - met the Seals shows them passing the ball around. "When I'm starving, I don't think of food otherwise it'd make me more hungry".

"We tried to dig out as we thought we can not only wait for authorities to get us", coach Ekkapol Chantawong told reporters in Chiang Rai, a city in northern Thailand.

Wearing their football club's kit, the group thanked their rescuers and told how they kept their spirits up in the cave by playing draughts and chess with the divers. He encouraged the boys not to be anxious or scared. The team had gone to explore the caves after soccer practice, and on their way back out noticed the water rising.

Though they and their coach are all said to be in good mental and physical health, health officials say that additional psychological monitoring will be provided to detect lingering trauma.

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They also plan to join the Thai monkhood as novices, as Chantawong previously did, in honor of the diver who rdied during the rescue operation, per the Guardian. They were able to see their families through a glass, while wearing hospital gowns and masks.

Some said they want to become one of the Navy SEALs who played the essential role in the rescue mission and wished to help more people. The last batch were extracted last Monday.

Ministry of Health/Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital/AP The boys recovering in hospital.

"I pass the hospital where the children are staying every day and I say a prayer to thank Lord Buddha for their return", said Duang, a noodle vendor, who asked to be identified only by her first name.

"The media know the children are in a hard situation, they have overcome peril and if you ask risky questions then it could break the law", he told reporters.Some Thai television personalities joked that the boys' appearance would boost ratings for an otherwise tiresome show that usually features discussions of the military government's performance.

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