Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

Thai boys were passed 'sleeping' through cave, says rescue diver

In this photo taken from video released by Thailand government, family members watch the rescued boys through a window at the Chiang Rai hospital in northern Thailand, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

The team, three of whom have lung infections, will now need to be monitored in the hospital for seven days and rest at home for another 30 days.

The hospital treating 12 Thai school children rescued from a flooded cave has released the first video showing the boys since they were saved.

A crowd of supporters gathered to greet a team of divers on Tuesday after they successfully freed a youth soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

Raw video shows the boys rescued from the Thai cave recovering in the hospital today.

But Thai authorities have been coy on how a group of boys, many of whom could not swim and none with diving experience, could have navigated the treacherous narrow and submerged passageways of the Tham Luang complex, even with expert diving support.

People magazine was granted a sneak peak of ABC News' 20/20 special edition where they discovered one of the boys' mates was holding a vigil by keeping his trapped friend's school seat warm.

"Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them", he said, while stressing that the boys are "happy and smiling".

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He did not say if the coach, the only adult with the boys for nine days before they found, was able to dive and walk out unaided.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters on Tuesday that the group had been given a "minor tranquiliser" to help calm their nerves. "They had less than five meters' visibility, fought harsh currents and used a buddy system of two divers for each boy rescued". "At this time, now that the coach is out, just wait until he gives any statements and let's just wait altogether and find out at the same time", he said in an interview.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the children were sedated and placed on stretchers to prevent them from panicking during the rescue mission from the Tham Luang cave complex. Social media has been abuzz for days with chatter about the inevitable "Thailand Cave Rescue: The Movie".

The four boys and soccer coach brought out Wednesday on the final day of an all-out three-day push to save all of them had recovered more quickly than the boys rescued on Monday and Tuesday, Chaiwetch said.

The group remains in quarantine in a Chiang Rai hospital where one of the last batch of people to leave the cave has "lung conditions", he said.

"We will sing a song for him", she said.

But they were prodded into the unsafe task of bringing the team through submerged chambers and claustrophobic passages as oxygen levels in the cave plummeted and rains menaced. A Thai rescue diver died last Friday, highlighting the dangers.

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