It was magical: Thai boys relive their discovery in cave ordeal

Thai cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance since rescue

The 12 boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand left a hospital on Wednesday to make their first public appearance at a nationally-broadcast news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang mountain cave complex near the border with Myanmar last week after a perilous rescue operation that drew global media attention and hundreds of journalists to the scene.

The boys spoke for the first time about their ordeal at a press conference and when asked about the World Cup final one of the boys said that doctors let them watch it and that a number of two of the boys were supporting Croatia.

The boys, who sported crisp haircuts, had gained 3 kg (6.6 lb) each on average since the rescue, and ran through confidence-building exercises ahead of Wednesday's event, said hospital director Chaiwetch Thanapaisal.

Psychiatrists said they want the boys to "lead a normal life as soon as possible", and not be given special treatment as they continue to recover.

"I felt scared. I was afraid I wouldn't get to go home and my mom would scold me, said Mongkol Boonpiam, 13, prompting laughter".

They lay down to sleep on the slope, and Ekapol told the boys to pray.

"When the rescuer emerged I said 'Hello, '" Dul said, realizing that the rescuer wasn't Thai but British. At times they even tried to dig themselves out of the cave with their hands rather than remain helpless.

All said they want to apologise to their parents, most of whom they had not been informed in advance about the trek to the cave after football practice. "So we dug holes to find a way to escape and stopped when we were exhausted".

Zlatko Dalic: Croatia have energy to exterminate England
She said: " Gareth Southgate and the England boys have done a fantastic job and I wish them all the very best of luck tonight!" However, FIFA says the sentence is not final because the former Dinamo Zagreb director general is appealing to a higher court.

Announcing the celebration, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had earlier told reporters, "There will be a banquet, there will be performances arranged for all groups", without specifying a date.

He said: "We don't know what wounds the kids are carrying in their hearts". We stayed quiet and listened. "There was someone there".

"Suddenly, I saw foreign divers emerge from the water". "I was very shocked".

"Bringing the Wild Boars Home", read a banner in Thai welcoming them on the set, created to resemble a soccer pitch, complete with goalposts and nets.

Having no contact with the outside world for over a week, trapped inside a flooded cave, Adul described the moment the divers found them as "magical". Divers ended up outfitting the boys with full scuba gear to navigate a treacherous, hours-long path out of the cave.

But the moment was bittersweet, as two of the boys held up a framed pencil sketch of Samarn Kunan, 38, the former Thai navy diver who died while he worked underwater, laying oxygen tanks along a potential exit route. "When we found out, everyone was sad".

"We are impressed that Saman sacrificed his life to save us so that we could go and live our lives".

The appearance began with a video clip of the boys thanking medical staff at the hospital, and being congratulated for their recovery.

"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.

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