Boys rescued from Thai cave expected to be released Thursday

A handout photo made available by the Thai government shows the first images of the boys from a youth soccer team as they are treated at the hospital in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of EPA-EFE

July 14 (UPI) — The 12 boys rescued from a flooded Thai cave this week are expected to be discharged from the hospital Thursday, medical officials said Saturday.

By then, the boys, all part of a youth soccer team, will undergo another psychological exam, officials at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital said in a news conference. Officials are specifically worried about any possible mental duress suffered by the team’s coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol “Ake” Chantawong, ABC News reported.

The coach led the squad into the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand on June 23 as a team-building activity. They planned to be in the cave for an hour, but flood waters forced them deeper into the cave until they were stranded. The last member of the team left the cave Tuesday.

Concerns over mental health extend to the team members themselves. Officials said they don’t want the boys to give interviews to the press, citing worries they could cause them to feel guilt or shame. They want the boys to instead relax at their homes for the next month.

“We need to prepare both the children and their families for the attention they will receive when they come out,” Thailand’s health minister, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, said, according to Sky News.

The 13-year-old captain of the team, Dom, lost about 9 pounds, his family said. But the health minister indicated all team members are doing physically well and are gaining weight.

“Laboratory results of all 13 persons are negative for dangerous infectious diseases, and they will be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible,” officials said in a statement.


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