Thai cave boys to return to 'normal life' after meeting media | 2018-07-18 |

Thai cave boys to return to 'normal life' after meeting media

BBC     18th July, 2018 02:14:13 printer

Thai cave boys to return to 'normal life' after meeting media


Twelve boys and their football coach who were rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are due to leave hospital and return home.


They have been in a Chiang Rai hospital since last week, when they were pulled from the Tham Luang cave complex in a dramatic three-day operation


The group will make their first public appearance at a news conference and answer questions about their ordeal.


After that they will go back to their homes and families, officials say.


"The reason to hold this evening press conference is so media can ask them questions and after that they can go back to live their normal lives without media bothering them," Thailand's chief government spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told news agency AFP.


Chiang Rai's provincial governor Prachon Pratsukan added that it would be their "only official media interview", saying that there would "be no more speaking with the press after this".


Questions submitted by journalists were vetted ahead of time, and have been screened by a child psychiatrist to ensure they don't distress the boys.


The press conference is due to begin at around 18:00 local time (11:00 GMT).


There are also plans for the boys to be ordained as Buddhist monks for a short period of time, a tradition for males in Thailand who have experienced a misfortune.


The boys first entered the Tham Luang cave in the northern district of Chiang Rai on 23 June during an excursion with their coach.


They had planned to be there for only an hour, but found themselves trapped after a sudden bout of heavy rain flooded the cave complex, blocking their only way out.


Their parents soon informed officials they were missing, and a search and rescue operation began.


Nine days passed before the boys were found by two British rescue divers.


The dangers of the journey was underscored by the death of a former Thai Navy Seal diver, Saman Gunan, who died while taking oxygen tanks into the cave complex.


A team of expert divers guided the boys and their coach through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the cave system.


Each boy was accompanied by two divers, who also carried his air supply. The boys wore full-face masks, which are easier for novice divers than traditional respirators.


All 13 were transferred to a hospital in Chiang Rai where they have received medical and psychological assistance. They are all said to be recovering well.


However, they will be watched for signs of psychological distress, which may only become evident in the months to come.


The boys have been advised against giving media interviews, which experts say could trigger a post-traumatic reaction.