Asia-Pacific

Thai cave boys pray for good luck after first night home

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Eleven of the Thai boys and their soccer coach have visted a local temple.

The youth soccer teammates rescued from a flooded cave have begun their first day back home with their families by going to a Buddhist temple to pray for protection from misfortunes.

Eleven of the boys and the Wild Boars coach pressed their hands in prayer to the tune of chanting monks at the ceremony meant to extend one's life and protect it from dangers.

They were joined by relatives and friends at the Wat Pra That Doi Wao temple, overlooking Myanmar on Thailand's northern border.

Only one member was absent, Adul Sargon, who is not Buddhist.

The boys pray in front a portrait of Saman Gunan, the retired Thai SEAL diver who died during their rescue attempt.
The boys pray in front a portrait of Saman Gunan, the retired Thai SEAL diver who died during their rescue attempt.
AAP

The team has already said they would ordain as Buddhist novices to honour a former Thai navy seal diver who died in the cave while making preparations for their rescue.

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital and spoke to the media for the first time since their ordeal, describing their surprise at seeing two British divers rising from muddy waters in the recesses of the cave. It would be another week before they were pulled out of the Tham Luang cave.

In one poignant and emotional moment at the news conference, a portrait was displayed of Saman Gunan, the Thai diver who died. One of the boys, 11-year-old Chanin "Titan" Vibulrungruang, the youngest of the group, covered his eyes as if wiping away a tear.

The Thai cave boys after they were discharged from hospital.
The Thai cave boys after they were discharged from hospital.
AAP

The Wild Boars had entered the cave on June 23 for what was to be a relaxing hour's excursion after soccer practice. But rain began, and water soon filled the cavern, cutting off their escape, and they huddled on a patch of dry ground deep inside the cave.

The group had taken no food with them and survived by drinking water that dripped from the cave walls.

Psychologists had vetted the journalists' questions in advance to avoid bringing up any aspects of the rescue that might disturb them.

Doctors said the 13 were physically and mentally healthy. Although they lost an average of 4 kilograms during the more than two weeks they were trapped in the cave, they have since gained about 3 kilograms on average since their rescue.

While many of the boys wanted to be pro soccer players when they grow up, at least four of them said they hope to become navy seals, so they could help others.

Additional reporting: AFP

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