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CHIANG RAI, Thailand — The boys who spent at least two weeks trapped a dark, damp cave waved from their hospital beds on Wednesday in their first public appearance since they were saved.
All 12 teenagers, their soccer coach and four Navy SEALs who rescued them are well and recovering, the director of Thailand’s Chiang Rai hospital told reporters.
A video clip showed some of the children giving the victory signs and sitting up in bed on a ward where they are being kept in quarantine.
All wore face masks after their long ordeal inside the cave complex deep inside a mountain. Relatives were seen waving to them from the other side of a glass barrier.
The boys were rescued one-by-one in a complex operation involving international teams that began Sunday and finally ended Tuesday.
All the children survived, but a Thai Navy SEAL, Petty Officer Saman Kunan, died during the rescue.
Meanwhile, two of the American servicemen involved in retrieving the young soccer players revealed the race against time as cold water, depleting oxygen levels and little visibility made the mission extremely dangerous.
“We knew if we didn’t act when we acted, there was not going to be a successful rescue,” Air Force Maj. Charles Hodges, told NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday.