Thailand’s rescued cave boys won’t see World Cup final live: hospital

A screen grab shows boys rescued from the Thai cave wearing mask and resting in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand from a July 11, 2018 handout video. Government Public Relations Department (PRD) and Government Spokesman Bureau/Handout via REUTERS TV

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Twelve boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded Thai cave will watch a recording of the World Cup final which takes place on Sunday, not the live broadcast, an official at the hospital they are staying in said.

“Given that the final will be broadcast quite late our time, and we want the boys to rest and not to be looking at screens too much, we will probably record the final and show it to them later,” said the official the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

The official declined to be identified as she is not authorized to speak to media.

France play Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday, at 10 p.m. in Thailand.

The world soccer governing body FIFA had invited the boys and their coach to attend the final in Moscow but they can not go for medical reasons.

The 12-member “Wild Boars” soccer team and their coach spent more than two weeks trapped inside a flooded cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

They have been recovering in hospital since they were rescued over three days last week and will discharged on Thursday.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach had planned to explore the Tham Luang cave complex for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.

Two British divers found them on July 2, squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex. Rescuers then had to work out how to get them out through the flooded tunnels.

All 13 were brought to safety in a perilous rescue organized by Thai navy SEALs and an international team of cave-diving experts.

The rescue was greeted with joy by some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs.

Last week, Manchester United invited the “Wild Boars” to watch a match at their Old Trafford ground.

About 4,000 volunteers were on Sunday taking part in a clean-up of the area around the Tham Luang cave.

A park area around the mouth got trampled by the hundreds of rescuers, and media workers, who flocked to help with the mission and to report on it.

Authorities have closed the cave for now but hope to reopen it later as a tourist attraction – with sufficient safeguards in place to make sure no one gets trapped again.

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