Thai boys lost weight but generally well after cave ordeal

Thai boys lost weight but generally well after cave ordeal
Thai boys lost weight but generally well after cave ordeal. picture-alliance/AP Photo/Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center
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Most of the boys rescued from inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand lost an average of 2 kilograms (4 pounds) during their ordeal, but were generally in good condition, a senior health official said on Wednesday.

The 12 boys and their coach rescued over the past three days "took care of themselves well in the cave," Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said at a news conference at the hospital in Chiang Rai city where the group is recovering.

Rescue workers extracted the last group of the "Wild Boars" soccer team from the Tham Luang cave on Tuesday night, ensuring a happy ending to a 17-day ordeal that had gripped the world.

They were taken by helicopter to a hospital about 70 kilometers (45 miles) away to join their teammates in quarantine.

Thongchai said the soccer teammates are in a "very good mental state" and are showing no signs of stress.

"This may be because they spent the entire time together as a team helping each other out," he said.

Read more: Psychological impacts of being trapped in a cave

Lung infection

The four boys rescued on Sunday are now eating normal food and walking around, while the four extracted on Monday are being given soft food.

Parents of the boys freed on Sunday were able to visit them but had to wear protective suits and stand 2 meters (7 feet) away as a precaution.

One member of the final group of four boys and the coach who arrived at the hospital Tuesday evening had a slight lung infection, Thongchai said. Two of the first group had a lung infection as well.

The group will remain hospitalized for up to a week to ensure they are properly treated for all their health conditions. This means they will not be able to take up the invitation from FIFA to attend the Soccer World Cup final in Moscow..

The 12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their coach became trapped on June 23 when they were cut off by floodwaters while exploring the cave. They were found by a pair of British divers more than a week later. A high-risk international mission ensued and the group was eventually rescued.

Thai PM thanks rescuers

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday thanked people involved in the rescue.

The government's efforts, the assistance of people in Thailand and abroad, and the outpouring of moral support made the mission a success, Prayuth said in a televised national address.

He also paid a tribute to former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died last week during the rescue mission.

"His honor, sacrifice and legacy will forever be in our hearts," Prayuth said.

Rescue dominates headlines

The dramatic rescue operation dominated front-page headlines in Thailand.

"All Wild Boars Saved," read one headline.

"Hooyah! Mission accomplished," read another, echoing the rallying cry of the Thai navy SEALs involved in the rescue.

ap/rc (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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