CHIANG RAI, Thailand – A Thai medical team said on Wednesday that the 12 boys and their coach who were successfully rescued from a cave in northern Thailand have lost approximately two kilograms of weight after spending more than two weeks trapped underground.
However, the team highlighted that the weight loss doesn’t pose a risk to their lives.
Some of the children have pneumonia, but none of them have serious health problems, a member of the medical team at the provincial hospital of Chiang Rai responsible for assessing the health of the group said at a press conference.
The rescue operations culminated on Tuesday when the last four children and the coach were successfully extracted from the cave.
The last five members of the “Wild Boars” youth soccer team arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night with symptoms of hypothermia as a result of the harsh conditions they faced during the 15-17 days inside the cave and the cold temperature of the water they had to dive through.
“Like his friends, none of them suffer from infectious diseases,” one of the doctors said.
Members of the group were taken out of the cave in three batches on July 8-10.
The families of the first four boys rescued from the cave on Tuesday were allowed to visit their children, although with precautionary measures since the boys’ immune systems have been weakened after their time inside the cave.
The second group of rescued boys will be able to reunite with their relatives on Wednesday, while the third group will remain at least one more day in quarantine.
The “Wild Boars” have been provided with a soft diet such as rice and chicken, in addition to several vitamin supplements.
The boys and the coach, all in good spirits, will spend at least seven days in the medical center before being discharged.
The 12 boys, between 11-16 years old, and their coach, 26, went into the cave after finishing soccer training, but a heavy rainstorm flooded the cave and blocked their way out, trapping them inside.
The mother of one of boys gave the alert after realizing that her son had not returned home. It was only nine days later that all of the soccer team was found, hungry and weak, four kilometers away from the cave’s main entrance.
The group had to learn scuba diving in less than a week in order to leave the cave, but the rescue task became even more challenging as many did not know how to swim.
Amid narrow tunnels and zero visibility, two divers – one in front and one behind – accompanied each boy through the maze of the partially flooded passages.
The difficulty of the operation unfortunately resulted in the death of a volunteer on Thursday, a former member of the Thai Navy SEAL, when he ran out of air during a dive.
The official spokesperson for the operations, Narongsak Ossottanakorn, said he hopes this incident will serve as an example for children to become more aware of safety.