Boy rescued from Thai cave says he’s “very happy” now

CHIANG RAI, Thailand — It was a warm homecoming for Adul Sam-On, one of 12 boys who spent weeks trapped in a Thai cave. He was released from the hospital Wednesday, where he’s spent the past week with his teammates and coach.

The 14-year-old played the role of interpreter for British divers the moment they reached the team of young soccer players 2.5 miles inside the cave.

Finally free, Adul enjoyed his favorite meal: Kentucky fried chicken.

“I’m very happy,” he said.

His 11 teammates and their coach appeared together at a news conference on Wednesday, healthy and showing off their soccer skills before taking the stage. Having no contact with the outside world for over a week, trapped inside a flooded cave, Adul described the moment the divers found them as “magical.”

Their 25-year-old coach, who some parents credit for keeping the boys aged 11 to 16 alive, explained they only planned on exploring the cave for an hour, so they didn’t bring any food. They survived by drinking water dripping from stalactites.

Several say the experience has made them want to become Navy SEALs to help others when they grow up.They also paused for a solemn moment to honor the former Thai SEAL who lost his life trying to rescue them.

Searching for a sense of normalcy, surrounded by friends, Adul shared words of gratitude.

“Thank you to help me, and my friend. Thank you Jesus,” he said. “Thank you everybody.”

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