Make the most of your lives, res­cued Thai cave boys told


BANGKOK/CHI­ANG RAI (Reuters) – The head of a Thai navy SEAL div­ing team that helped lead 12 boys and their soc­cer coach through a flooded cave com­plex to safety urged the boys on Thurs­day to “make the most” of their lives and be a force for good.

The first footage of the boys, aged 11 to 16, con­va­lesc­ing in hos­pi­tal in the north­ern city of Chi­ang Rai emerged on Wednes­day, with some, wear­ing face masks and hos­pi­tal gowns, giv­ing peace signs to the cam­era.

Health of­fi­cials said the boys would spend at least a week in hos­pi­tal and around 30 days re­cov­er­ing at home fol­low­ing more than two weeks trapped in­side the flooded Tham Luang cave com­plex.

Thir­teen for­eign divers and five Thai Navy SEALs guided boys and their coach out in a com­pli­cated three-day op­er­a­tion that ended on Tues­day.

“Make the most of your lives. Be good peo­ple, be a force for good for your coun­try,” Rear Ad­mi­ral Apakorn Yuukongkaew, com­man­der of Thailand’s navy SEALS unit, said in a mes­sage to the boys be­fore board­ing a flight from Chi­ang Rai.

“Hooyah!” Apakorn shouted be­fore fly­ing out, us­ing a morale-build­ing navy term.

Footage re­leased by the SEALs showed parts of the res­cue op­er­a­tion that cap­ti­vated the world.

The boys were held close to the divers and re­mained mo­tion­less for parts of the jour­ney where they had to dive. They were then car­ried on stretch­ers through dry parts to the cave’s en­trance.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­suwan said on Wednes­day the op­er­a­tion was noth­ing short of a miracle.

Fam­i­lies of the 12 boys have been al­lowed to visit them.

A state­ment from Thailand’s pub­lic health min­istry on Thurs­day said two boys from the first group res­cued on Sun­day who were di­ag­nosed with a lung in­fec­tion were re­cov­er­ing well. Three boys from the last group saved have ear in­fec­tions.

The boys’ fam­i­lies can visit them wear­ing pro­tec­tive gowns and masks, it added.

BOYS RES­CUED from the Thai cave wear masks and rest at a hos­pi­tal in Chi­ang Rai on Wednes­day.

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