High spirits: First images of rescued Thai cave boys

The first pictures of the Wild Boars football team have been released and show the boys smiling and waving.

The boys were pictured looking healthy in hospital issue white gowns, either sitting in bed or walking around their rooms at the Chiangi Rai hospital.

Other incredible images show a parent of one of the boys watching, crying, through a glass wall. The boys are considered to be healthy but still have yet to be cleared from quarantine.

Family members watch the rescued boys through a window outside the recovery ward at the Chiang Rai hospital. Photo / AP
Family members watch the rescued boys through a window outside the recovery ward at the Chiang Rai hospital. Photo / AP

“The children should not be blamed for the incident,” he said.

Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said a life had been sacrificed to make the mission a success. “We have lost petty officer first-class Saman Kunan. We will remember him as a hero. We used his determination to push through and make this a success.

“I have also been informed by the Prime Minister, who received a call from Ms Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, on the passing of Dr Richard Harris’s father.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences for his great loss, and thank him for his contribution, for without him this mission would not have been a success.”

Dr Harris is an Australian diver who played a vital role in the rescue.

Mr Narongsak provided new details about the rescue effort that captured the attention of the entire world.

At a crucial stage of the rescue mission, as the kids grew weaker, oxygen levels began dropping alarmingly.

“But for this task we had to put in the best performance, so we put oxygen tanks in many spots in the cave. We had to make the decision.

“One of the really important things was the pumping teams. Both inside the cave and outside the cave, they were really important. And there was another team diverting water.”

This undated from video released via the Thai NavySEAL Facebook Page on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, shows rescuers hold an evacuated boy inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave. Photo / AP
This undated from video released via the Thai NavySEAL Facebook Page on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, shows rescuers hold an evacuated boy inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave. Photo / AP

The 12 boys will be monitored for days to come so doctors can be sure they are mentally strong enough to be released.

Mr Narongsak would not give exact details of how and why the boys entered the cave with their coach.

“What happened was a misfortune that no one would like to see happen.”

Matt Rivers

@MattRiversCNN

THREAD: Here’s some videos from the Thai gov of the rescued boys inside the hospital. This is the first time we’ve seen them since they were taken out of the cave. They look to be in remarkable shape considering what they went through, and docs say they are healthy. Amazing.

Earlier, Dr Harris claimed he was no hero and the true thanks should go to the Thai Navy SEALs and the kids themselves.

But the SEALs beg to differ and have taken to Facebook to thank Dr Harris personally and Australia as a whole for their help in the rescue effort.

Matt Rivers

@MattRiversCNN

Tears of happiness from relatives seeing their kids for the first time in weeks. pic.twitter.com/Rzw7Cs3yEX

Matt Rivers

@MattRiversCNN

In this you can see the kids flashing their pinkies, index fingers, and thumbs at the camera—aka I Love You in sign language and commonly used in Thailand to suggest “I’m good, I’m good!” pic.twitter.com/Tw6wLfWNXT

It’s been said that Dr Harris — known as Harry — was the last person to leave the Tham Luang caves after the Wild Boars soccer team was rescued.

Speaking on Wednesday via Skype to Malcolm Turnbull, Dr Harris brushed off the Prime Minister’s praise.

“The big heroes in this are the children and the Thai Navy SEALs who were looking after them,” he said.

Matt Rivers

@MattRiversCNN

Video shows parents on the other side of a glass partition waving to their kids. The boys are in quarantine for a week or so. Parents could be allowed into the room in the coming days while wearing special protective clothing. pic.twitter.com/F8Ea9pcJ1D

Matt Rivers

@MattRiversCNN

Tears of happiness from relatives seeing their kids for the first time in weeks. pic.twitter.com/Rzw7Cs3yEX

“They are the toughest blokes and kids I have ever had the privilege to meet and without them being in the state they were in, we couldn’t have done anything; that’s where the credit lies.”

Meanwhile, the actions of the junior coach of the Wild Boars have been a controversial focus of the Thai cave rescue that left the world wondering, what was he thinking?

Many have now hailed Ekkapol Chantawong a hero, crediting his selfless actions for helping save the 12 boys trapped deep in a flooded cave for two weeks.

Pannawit Jongkham, the coach of the senior team, said everyone in the club was behind “Ek”, as he is affectionately known.

“When he is out, everything will be the same, we will support him, nothing will change,” he told CNN.

Boys in the club who did not go on the trip that fateful day said they trusted the coach with their lives anyway.

Many have credited Ekkapol with keeping the boys alive and calm, huddled on a 10sq m ledge, 4km from the cave entrance for 10 days until rescuers found them.

Family members watch the rescued boys through a window outside the recovery ward at the Chiang Rai hospital. Photo / AP
Family members watch the rescued boys through a window outside the recovery ward at the Chiang Rai hospital. Photo / AP

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