Thai cave rescue: Boys, coach to be discharged from hospital Thursday

Roasted pork, steamed rice, steak, sushi and KFC. That's what the 12 rescued Thai boys and their soccer coach will seek out after they finally leave the hospital next week.        » RELATED: Thai cave rescue: 5 things you should know

Doctors say the boys will be released from the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital on Thursday after donning surgical masks to ward off infection. The boys survived the harrowing rescue from a flooded cave in northern Thailand last week.

Public Health Minister Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn told reporters Saturday that the boys, ranging from 11 to 16 years old and their 25-year-old coach were healthy and should be discharged this week.

"All of the 13 people, their physical bodies are strong and fit. Regarding infections, through the medical evaluations in the first days there may be some of them that had minor pneumonia, but now all is cleared, no fever," Piyasakol said.

Several were also reported earlier to be recovering from minor lung and middle ear infections.

In a hospital video recorded Friday, the boys sent messages to well-wishers and started each with a "wai," the traditional Thai greeting with hands raised to chest level and palms together.

The boys were shown in their sterile hospital rooms donning the surgical masks that could be removed Saturday, doctors said. Despite the physical progress, doctors warned the group still faces a psychological test to ensure their well-being.

A handout photo made available by the Thai government public relations department (PRD) on July 11, 2018 shows the first pictures of the boys from a youth soccer team as they are treated at the hospital in Chiang Rai.

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A hospital statement said as their recovery continues, the boys should avoid mental stress, spend time with only friends and family and avoid media exposure that could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

In the video, one of the boys, Ekarat Wongsukchan, 14, whose nickname is Biw, playfully raised his two arms in a boxer's victory stance as laughter is heard in the background.

"Hello, my name is Biw, I am fine. I want to say thanks to everyone that worried," he said. All 13 offered thanks for the support they've been given.

Adul Samon, a stateless 14-year-old sent to Thailand for schooling by his ethnic minority parents across the border in Myanmar, speaks in Thai and then in English: "Hello, I am Adul. Now I am very fine. I am very thank you so heavy, thank you so much."

Adul is perhaps the best known of the boys because he was the one speaking English in the video taken inside the cave when the team members were first found by two British cave divers July 2, nearly 10 days after being trapped by flooding.

The boys were trapped for more than two weeks in the cave. Rescuers raced against the clock as heavy rain threatened to increase water levels and cut off the rescue route even further.

Thai navy SEALs guided each boy one-by-one along the 2.5-mile route. Each boy was given a diving suit, gloves, helmet and a full-face diving mask for the trip, tethered to an oxygen tank.

A retired navy SEAL diver from Thailand died July 6 after running out of air while placing extra oxygen tanks along the cave route.          

» RELATED: All 12 boys, soccer coach rescued from Thai cave

Contributing: The Associated Press

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