PH lauds Thailand for daring cave rescue of boys soccer team

The boys at a hospital in Chiang Rai province on 11 July

The members of the Thai soccer team who were rescued from a cave earlier this week are sending "thank you" messages from the hospital where they are recovering.

A screen grab shows boys rescued from the Thai cave wearing mask and resting in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand from a July 11, 2018 handout video.

Blood tests results showed no signs of infectious diseases that they might have contracted during their weeks stranded deep within a partly flooded cave near the village of Pong Pha.

One of the rescuers of the Thai boys who were trapped in a flooded cave has told how the operation was devised by British divers who had practised the plan in a local swimming pool. Eventually, through the collective effort of hundreds of rescue workers and many more across the world, pumping water, creating forward operating bases in sequential stages throughout the cave system, and devising a means of calming and transporting the children and their coach, the team was rescued on Tuesday, July 10.

Duangpetch Promtep, 13, said: "Thank you for all the moral support".

A 14-year-old team member nicknamed Note said: "I am in good health now".

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday worldwide members of the rescue team would be given a "Thailand Elite" card worth 500,000 baht ($15,000) with benefits including a 5-year visa in thanks.

He said: "Initially of course excitement, relief that they were still alive".

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The world soccer governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association had invited the boys and their coach to attend the final in Moscow but they cannot go for medical reasons. Some had pneumonia when they were brought out of the cave but were recovering.

"I want to tell the boys, please don't blame yourselves", Valeepoan told reporters on scene.

The 12 boys and their coach are resting in hospital after being rescued from a Thai cave.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn says all 13 are set to leave the hospital next Thursday.

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. Volanthen also praised former Thai navy seal Saman Kunan, who died during the mission, while expressing his condolences to his family.

Each of them took turns making a wai and thanking their Thai and global rescuers, as well as the world community, for saving and supporting them.

"Sometimes we are able to use that to give something back to the community and that's what we did".

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