CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AP) — The Latest on Thai youth soccer players and their coach who were rescued after being trapped in a cave (all times local):
The Thai soccer boys and their coach have attended a Buddhist ceremony at a temple to protect them against misfortunes, a day after they were discharged from a hospital following their rescue from a flooded cave.
The 11 boys and the coach — the remaining team member is reportedly a Muslim — were joined by relatives and friends at the temple in the northern province of Chiang Rai, where they sat and put their hands together to the tune of chanting monks.
The ceremony, which is meant to extend one's life and protect it from dangers, was held at the temple that sits on the northern Thai border overlooking Myanmar.
On Wednesday, the 12 boys and the coach faced the media for the first time since their ordeal, describing their shock at seeing the British divers who found them after they went missing inside the cave for almost 10 days. It would be another week before they were pulled out to safety in a complicated rescue that included diving them out of the cave.
The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand have appeared at a news conference, entering to applause from the media and classmates.
The boys put on a quick demonstration of their ball-handling skills in a special miniature soccer field set up in the hall where they are meeting the media on Wednesday.
They then hugged their friends before taking seats up front with doctors and others who helped them during their ordeal.
Doctors took the first two questions, and said the 13 were healthy in body and mind. Doctors said the boys gained around 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) on average since they were rescued from the cave last week. They were said to have lost an average of 4 kilograms (9 pounds) during the more than two weeks they were trapped in the cave.
Members of a Thai youth soccer team who were trapped in a cave have left the hospital where they have been treated since their rescue, and are slated to hold a news conference before they return to their homes.
The 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach had been pronounced generally healthy by doctors, aside from some minor infections.
The news conference, to be held in a government building, will be the first opportunity the members of the team have to speak directly to the media, though video of them was released previously. Officials are reviewing questions in advance to make certain none might cause damaging psychological effects.
The youth soccer teammates rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand are expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday and to speak about their ordeal.
A news conference with the 12 boys and their coach was being arranged for the evening in the northern city of Chiang Rai, where the boys have been recovering in a hospital since last week.
Government spokesman Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said doctors and psychologists were participating in the news conference to filter questions and ensure the boys' well-being. The conference hall venue was decorated as a soccer field.
The group entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 but was soon trapped by flooding. Divers found them 10 days later and rescuers eventually extracted them over three days, concluding July 10.
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