THAILAND — It’s the news the entire world has been waiting more than two weeks to hear. The entire Wild Boar youth soccer team and its coach have been safely removed from a cave in Thailand. The remaining four boys and coach were brought to safety Tuesday morning as part of a third day of rescue operations.
Officials said they had low body temperatures coming out of the caves. Some had infections but otherwise all of them were in good health.
Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they’re well enough to attend. Doctors, though, said they’ll have to remain in the hospital for treatment for at least a week, insisting they can watch the big game on TV.
CNN was told the boys were exploring the caves on June 23 with their coach when they were trapped inside by heavy seasonal rains.
Rescued boys recovering in hospital
More details emerged Tuesday about the ages and condition of the children that were freed from the cave on Sunday and Monday.
All eight boys rescued on the first two days are being treated in an isolation ward in a Chiang Rai hospital. Medical officials told reporters that they’re healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and “seem to be in high spirits.”
The rest that were rescued on Tuesday are expected to join them.
Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, the permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said the first group of boys taken out on Sunday were aged 14 to 16. Their body temperatures were very low when they emerged, and two are suspected of having lung inflammation.
Families of the first four have been able to see their children through a glass window, Chokedamrongsook said. They were also able to talk on the phone. They’ll be allowed to enter the room if tests show the boys are free of infection.
The second group freed on Monday were aged 12 to 14. One had a very slow heartbeat but had responded well to treatment, Chokedamrongsook said. The hospital has sent test samples from the boys to a lab in Bangkok.
Authorities will likely look for signs of Histoplasmosis, also known as “cave disease,” an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings, according to the Mayo Clinic.
They are all likely to stay in hospital for seven days due to their weakened immune systems. Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha visited the hospital Monday, and spoke to relatives and hospital workers.
The youngest member of the Wild Boar team in the cave is just 11 years old.