CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AP) — The youth soccer teammates rescued after 18 days trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday and to speak about their ordeal.
A news conference with the 12 boys and their coach was being arranged for the evening in the northern city of Chiang Rai, where the boys have been recovering in a hospital since last week. A conference hall that was being prepared as the venue for the news conference was decorated as a soccer field.
Government spokesman Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said doctors, social workers and psychologists would participate in the news conference to filter questions and ensure the boys’ well-being. The media will not be allowed to interview the boys after the news conference.
The Wild Boars teammates had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for a quick, relaxing excursion after soccer practice. But rain began falling while they were underground, and the water filled the caverns, cutting off their escape.
Divers found the group huddling on a spot of dry ground deep inside the cave 10 days later, hungry but generally healthy. An international team of rescuers using diving equipment and pulleys extracted the 12 boys and coach through the tight, flooded passageways over three days, concluding July 10.
Some of the boys were treated for minor infections during their hospital stay, but all 13 have been described as recovering well.
The family of one of the boys was preparing their home for his return Wednesday night.
Banphot Konkum, an uncle who has raised 13-year-old Duangpetch Promthep, said he’ll have a renovated bedroom and gifts awaiting him.
“We’ll do whatever he wants. If he wants anything we’ll buy it for him as a present as we promised that when he gets out, whatever he wants we’ll do it for him,” Banphot said.