Thailand's cave boys wake up at home for first time in weeks

Thai cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance since rescue

"No weaker or stronger first".

Rescued Thai football coach Ekkapol Chantawong (L) together with 12 children pays tribute during a press conference in Chiang Rai on Wednesday.

The media will not be allowed to interview the boys after the news conference.

"We knew there were risks involved in this there was an understanding reached between the Thai government and the Australian government", Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told Reuters.

More than 100 questions were sent in for the boys and their representatives, including their doctors and psychologists.

The boys, who returned home on Wednesday night, all apologised for being naughty, admitting to having told their parents only that they were going to soccer practice, but not about the plans to go into the cave. It had been suggested the boys had been engaged in an initiation rite, or had been celebrating a team-member's birthday. That is what the soccer team is called. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.

"If I pull twice, that means that I saw the exit", he said.

At his point, the realization dawned that they were trapped. Ake heard the sound of flowing water, and realized it was rising fast.

"We planned to go for an hour", he said. Their only source of energy was water they found in the cave. Ake knew that the water dripping from the roof of the cave would be purer than the dirty floodwater on the floor.

"Dr Harris told reporters last week: "[There were] some moments of significant fear, I have to say, and then a great result and some really joyous moments to finish". "That I wouldn't go home and I would get scolded by my mother".

Chanthawong, who was a novice monk for almost a decade, reportedly taught the boys how to meditate in order to help them keep calm and retain their energy.

Jay Hom led a group of 30 people from Tachileik and said she had earlier prayed in front of the cave, asking for the trapped boys to be found. Heavy rain began falling while they were underground, and water filled the caverns, cutting off their escape.

During the press conference, one of the youngest members of the team said he "tried not to think about food", but found it hard to get fried rice off his mind.

Thai cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance since rescue
Thai cave boys leave hospital and give first TV interview since being rescued

"It is a miracle", Adul Sam-on, 14, said of the rescue, as the boys were gently quizzed about their terrifying experience by a moderator before dozens of cameras.

Hours before their release from hospital, Konkum and other family members were busy shopping for Dom.

One of the rescued boys is carried by six rescuers across ankle-high stream of water to medics inside the cave for immediate treatment.

When asked if he thought he deserved it, the boy said: "Yes".

"I said "Hello", or something like that ... it was so magnificent".

They became trapped when the cave they were exploring for fun was hit by flash floods on June 23.

And they recounted the most harrowing moments of their adventure gone wrong. "He was king of the cave", Titan said.

"We ask everyone to give them personal space and time to be with their families and go to school", they said.

Ardun said though people can't predict the future, the experience had taught him about the consequences of acting carelessly.

"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.

Now that the boys' ordeal is over, there are concerns over their long-term psychological health.

"It was magical", he said. The boys said they were surprised he wasn't Thai, and they struggled to communicate in English.

All were brought to safety during the three-day rescue, organised by Thai navy SEALs and a global team of cave-diving experts.

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