The 12 Thai boys and their football coach who were rescued from a cave complex last week are set to be discharged from hospital a day early on Wednesday, before addressing the media for the first time since their dramatic ordeal.
It is a week since the last of the last of the Wild Boars football team were rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand, in a mission that gripped the world’s attention.
After being brought out of the cave one by one by an international team of diving experts, the boys have been recovering in the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, near the border with Myanmar.
Some of the boys had pneumonia but last week the health minister confirmed they were recovering quickly. At a video played at a press conference over the weekend, the boys appeared in good spirits, thanking those involved in their rescue.
The boys and their coach were due to be discharged on Thursday but have recovered so quickly they are being let out early.
The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach got into difficulties after exploring the Tham Luang cave complex after football practice on 23 June. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them as they took shelter on a shelf of the dark cave.
The worst was feared after eight days of searching yielded no signs of life, but on 2 July they were discovered by two British divers. The 12 boys and their coach were eventually rescued in an operation that took three days, in which the boys were dressed in scuba gear and sedated as they were brought through the tunnels and into safety.
Thai authorities hope the press conference will satisfy huge media interest in the boys’ story. They have been concerned about the impact of sudden fame and media attention on the boys’ mental health, so Wednesday’s news conference will be carefully controlled. Journalists will submit questions in advance, which will be vetted by a psychologist. Approved questions will be put to the boys by a moderator.
“We want to reduce public curiosity,” the government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told Reuters on Tuesday. “We arrange it so that, after that, the boys can go back to their regular lives,” Sansern said.