The first video of the Thai boys rescued from a flooded cave after 17 days was released on Wednesday, showing them smiling and waving from their hospital beds, looking thin but fine after an ordeal that has gripped the world.
The last group of the 12-member “Wild Boars” soccer team and their coach was brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday night, safely ending a dangerous rescue and evoking international relief and joy.
Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told a news conference the boys were just being children when they got lost and no one was to blame.
“We don’t see the children as at fault or as heroes. They are children being children, it was an accident,” Narongsak said.
A video of the boys in hospital was shown at the news conference. Some of them, wearing surgical masks, lay on their beds. Some sat and made the “peace sign” gesture for the camera.
None of the boys was heard speaking in the clips shown at the news conference.
The 12 boys and their soccer coach lost an average of 2 kg (4.4 lb) during their ordeal but were generally in good condition and showed no signs of stress, a senior health official said earlier.
After being brought out of the cave, one by one beginning on Sunday, they were taken by helicopter to hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, about 70 km (45 miles) away, to stay in quarantine.
The boys would have to stay in hospital for up to 10 days, hospital director Chaiwetch Thanapaisal told the news conference. They would then need to recuperate at home for 30 days, he said.
Parents of the first eight boys freed have been able to visit them but had to wear protective suits and stand 2 meters (7 feet) away as a precaution. Authorities are worried about the possibility of infections picked up in the cave.
Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a health department inspector, earlier told reporters one from the last group rescued on Tuesday had a lung infection and they were all given vaccinations for rabies and tetanus.