As members of the Wild Boars entered the hall, a crowd of journalists and classmates greeted them with applause. Before the beginning of the press conference, the boys demonstrated their skills, playing football on a small pitch set up in the conference hall.
The team's coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, said that they were trying "to dig out as we thought we cannot only wait for authorities to get us."
The boys noted that they spent nine days inside the cave without food before they were discovered by divers from the international rescue team.
One of the schoolboys stated that in order to survive they had to drink water dripping from the stalactites in the cave.
"It is a miracle," said 14-year-old Adul Sam-on.
After the dramatic rescue, the schoolboys and their coach, weakened by starvation, were immediately sent to a hospital in the Thai city of Chiang Rai. They were quarantined so that all the necessary medical tests could be performed. No traces of any infections have been found that would endanger the lives of the boys or their coach. They were discharged from hospital and agreed to speak publicly about their ordeal during a press conference.
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Twelve teenagers from a Thai junior football team and their coach disappeared on June 23. They entered the seven-kilometer-long Tham Luang cave and could not get out because rainfall had flooded the exit.
Early on Sunday, the head of the rescue team announced the start of an operation to get the teenagers and their coach out of the cave. The children were taken out in diving gear and for one-fifth of the journey they swam underwater accompanied by experienced divers.