In their own words: rescued Thai soccer players describe ordeal

The 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand were released from hospital Wednesday and made their first public appearance, along with their coach, at a news conference that was broadcast across the country. 

Here are some of their translated comments.

On surviving in the cave

The group, expecting to be in the cave for only an hour, took no food with them and had to subsist on water dripping from stalactites in the cave.

"The water coming from the rock. The taste is like forest water," said one boy.

They were hungry, but the coach told them to stay still to conserve energy.

"Around the fourth or fifth day, we decided we can find an exit. What should we do next? We have two alternatives: to go further, and second, to wait for authorities to find us. So the water start coming in…. So we try to get up to higher place. Not even an hour, the water came higher. We dig on the wall — at least we do something, not just wait and see [if] authorities to find us. So we keep taking turns. When they were tired, we switched," said one of the players.

All express gratitude to navy SEALs who rescued them 1:04

On the rescue

The coach said one of the boys who understands a bit of English interpreted for the rest of the team, since the rescuers were speaking English. 

The boy said: "We were in the cave. I heard someone talk. We weren't sure so we stopped talking. I heard somebody talk. I heard someone say hello. We thought [it was the] authorities, not diver. They emerge from the water. I was frightened. 

"I had a flashlight and I hurried out, and I heard someone say hello … I just said hello back. They said, yes, how are you? And I said yes, I am OK. They ask how many of you, and I said we have 13. They said 'Brilliant!'

"It was a miracle."

On going home

"I have taken food for three or four meals for me to regain my energy. So when I came back from the cave I want to find some delicious food to eat," said one boy.

On lessons learned

"To be patient and strong, and not be discouraged."

"To use my life to be useful."

"We will not be careless."

"Be good person for the society."

On the rescuers

One boy draws applause by saying that the team members are very grateful to the Thai Navy SEAL rescuers. 

"I feel like they were my mother and my father, because they called me son."

Duangpetch Promthep, one of the boys rescued from a flooded cave, is greeted by relatives at his home in northern Thailand, on Wednesday. (Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press)

On what they want to say to their parents

Several of boys said they wanted to apologize for going to the cave without permission.

"I wanted to say sorry to them because I didn't tell them that I was going to the cave. I just told them I went to the training."

"I want to say sorry to them that I was stubborn and not very well behaved."

'I also want to tell them that I love them very much." 

"When we were in the cave, everyone said parents going to punish us because it is over a day [since we had left home]. They would be very angry."

On what's next

The boys all want to go pro.

"I dream to be a professional footballer."

"I want to follow dream to be a footballer. But I want to have a career."

"I want to have a high education. I also want to be professional footballer."

"I want to be professional footballer, and also to be — I want to help people."

"I want to have high education and to make my parents proud of me."

"I want to have a high education and I want to be in a national team."

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