The 12 Thai boys who were evacuated from a flooded cave in a dramatic rescue have spoken out to thank their rescuers…and to request a KFC, of course.
If I’d been stuck in a cave for two weeks, I’d be dreaming of fried chicken as well.
The boys were filmed sitting in their hospital beds giving thanks to everyone who helped them escape, and one boy, named Adul, said: ‘I’m better. I’d like to have a KFC’.
All twelve boys and their 25-year-old coach are currently being treated in hospital after spending two weeks trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai.
The pictures of the children were published as details regarding the complex rescue effort began to emerge. The Thai Navy Seals involved in the mammoth rescue operation also uploaded a video which demonstrated how they rescued the boys and their coach, according to the BBC.
According to their sources, including those involved in the operation, the boys had to be heavily sedated before they began the process to get them out. This was to ensure they did not panic in the dark, narrow, underwater passageways.
Furthermore, they had to be strapped to one of two rescue divers who were responsible for guiding the children through Tham Luang cave’s complex network of tunnels. Once they got out they were placed on medical stretchers and carried to a dry part of Chiang Rai.
The group of thirteen were initially found by British rescue divers. They’d been reported missing after being stuck in the cave for 10 days, perched on a rock shelf in a small chamber, about 4km (2.5 miles) from the cave mouth.
They’d gone into the cave on an adventuring exploration to celebrate one boy’s birthday, but became trapped when an unexpected rain shower flooded Tham Laung and blocked their exit.
Worries mounted as it became clear many of the youngsters couldn’t swim.
Initially, officials thought they’d have to leave the thirteen in the cave until the end of the rain season, but with oxygen levels in the chamber depleting to just 15 per cent (from the norm of 21 per cent) something had to be done before its end, in four months.
So entered the trained team of highly-trained divers, including Saman Gunan. The team, which consisted of divers and aid workers, worked tirelessly to ensure the kids and their coach made it out of the cave.
Just after 13:00, July 8, the first two boys from the football team emerged from the cave as rescue workers faced a race against time to beat an oncoming monsoon which would have flooded the cave ‘like a tsunami’.
When they were discovered they were apparently meditating, all thanks to coach Ekapol Chanthawong. He was orphaned at age 10, before training to be a monk, but left the monastery to care for his grandmother and became a manager for a new football team.
His aunt, Umporn Sriwichai, said of him, as reported by news.com.au:
I always believed that Chanthawong would help them keep calm and optimistic, and he loved us very much.
Because he had experienced the pain of losing loved ones since he was very young … we cannot stand such tragedies anymore.
It was Chanthawong who taught the boys to meditate in order to preserve their energy and maintain calm.
Petty Officer Saman Gunan passed away when he ran out of air during a mission to deliver oxygen tanks to the young boys and their coach.
One round trip from the entrance to the cave, through the series of narrow passageways – some submerged entirely – takes 11 hours in total, and involves diving against the current.
Gunan was attempting this when he died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways, said Passakorn Boonyaluck, deputy governor of the Chiang Rai region, where the cave is situated.
What Saman did, that final act of selflessness, bravery and kindness, takes an almost superhuman strength of self, and it should never be forgotten.
RIP Saman Gunan.
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