Twelve boys and their football coach who survived a highly dangerous and dramatic rescue from a flooded Thai cave were discharged from hospital Wednesday ahead of a press conference where they will tell their incredible story for the first time.
An AFP correspondent on the scene saw the team, who were wearing football kits, board three minibuses at the hospital in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai province.
The footballers from the “Wild Boars” club are being discharged a day earlier than previously announced, with authorities hoping a question and answer session will satisfy — at least temporarily — the intense media speculation that has accompanied their epic underground ordeal.
The boys are due to return to their homes later Wednesday.
“The reason to hold this evening press conference is so media can ask them questions and after that they can go back to live their normal lives without media bothering them,” Thailand’s chief government spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told AFP.
Called “Sending the Wild Boars Home” and broadcast on major television channels, the session will last for about 45 minutes, Sunsern said, adding that it would be conducted in an informal style with a moderator.
The briefing will be closely monitored, with experts warning of possible long-term distress from the more than two weeks they spent trapped inside a cramped, flooded chamber of the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.