The 12 boys and their coach, who were rescued over a three-day mission from a flooded cave in Thailand after being trapped inside for over two weeks, have been released from the hospital and are talking with reporters about their harrowing ordeal, reports ABC News. The first order of business came from the 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led the boys into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, who wanted to clarify one thing the media reported incorrectly — and that was that all of the boys knew how to swim.
The boys revealed that when they entered the cave, they didn’t have any food with them considering they only planned to be in there for about an hour. But when they went to leave, their way out had been flooded. Chanthawong shared that he and the boys made the decision together to head deeper into the cave, figuring that there had to be another exit from the cave. Unfortunately, the immediately ended up in deep water, up to the coach’s shoulder, that they needed to swim through. As the boys worried they were lost, Chanthawong told them there is only one direction in the cave and they needed to remain strong.
The group soon found a safe area about 650 feet up, where they decided to stay for the night.
“I didn’t worry at that time because I thought the water would lower down overnight and we could get out,” Chanthawong said.
The next day, they knew they needed to drink fresh water and tried to do so from what was trickling down the walls of the cave.
“I felt weak and very hungry,” said the youngest boy, 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng. “I drank water to make me full.”
The boys were intent on escaping and tried digging their way out through the cave wall. Eventually, the coach told them to stop because they needed to conserve their energy as the hours turned into days. The coach kept trying to keep their spirits up, telling them they needed to be strong. Then on the 10th day, they heard someone speaking English.
“Chanthawong instructed one of the boys who had a torch to go investigate. He found the British divers who had been stringing a safety line through the cave as part of the massive search-and-rescue mission,” reports ABC News.
Pipat “Nick” Bodhi, 15, called it a “miracle moment” when that happened.
“Then he asked, ‘How are you’ and I responded, ‘We’re fine.'”
When the team and coach learned that retired Thai Navy SEAL Lt. Col. Saman Gunan lost his life, they were shocked and felt horribly guilty.
“I would like to express our condolences and hope you rest in peace,” the youngest boy, 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, said, reading the message he wrote on the drawing of Gunan, which they had all signed. “Thank you very much for your sacrifice and I felt sorry for Lt. Col. Gunan’s family.”
All in all, the boys said that they learned an important lesson.
“This experience taught me not to live life carelessly,” said Pipat Bodhi.