People around the world watched on in horror as 12 Thai boys were trapped in a cave, seemingly without a means of escape. Many wondered what the ultimate fate of the boys would be, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Thankfully, though we all were able to see what we can now definitively call a mission success.

The incident began on June 23 when twelve young soccer players and their 25 year old assistant coach went inside a complex cave system. After heavy flooding, the boys and their coach got trapped inside the cave with no route for escape.

After a rigorous search and rescue operation, the Thai Navy SEALs were able to bring the boys back to safety. Now, they speak out for the first time since returning from the cave and we were able to ascertain new details about what the harrowing experience must have been like.

Astonishingly, the boys seemed relatively unfazed and jolly after being released from the hospital. While speaking to the press, they revealed details which were not known regarding the rescue operation.

For example, they spoke of how they played checkers with the Thai Navy SEALs while waiting for the rescue operation to continue and how one of the SEALs was so good, he became known as “King of the Cave.”

In addition, they answered the lingering question as to why they had entered the cave in the first place. Many postulated that it was the place where an initiation rite would take place. As it turns out, the reason was simply that they were curious about the caves and wanted to explore.

They also described what it was like when they first encountered the British divers – John Volanthen and Richard Stanton. They remarked about how surprised they were that the divers spoke English and were not Thai.

When deciding who would be the first to be escorted out of the cave, they apparently made the decision based off of who lived the furthest away. They obviously had no idea that the ordeal had caught the attention of all global media.

When asked what lessons they had learned from the experience, they gave varied answers. The coach explained how he was planning to live more cautiously since reckless behavior was what nearly led to the death of him and the boys he was supervising.

Everyone seemed happy and healthy during the conference, but it quickly took a turn for the worse when they had to discuss the death of the Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died during the operation. The boys expressed immense gratitude, holding a picture of him for the media to see. They also pledged to serve as novice Buddhist monks in reverence for Kunan’s life. Such a gesture is seen as an extraordinarily high honor in Thailand.

The boys holding a portrait of the former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan as they pay their respects during a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Wednesday.
The boys holding a portrait of the former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan as they pay their respects during a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Wednesday. Picture: AFP