13 rescued from Thai cave to be released next week

Ambulances carry two of the boys freed from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave

All 13 - the dozen boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach - were expected to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday, said Public Health Minister Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn, who led the news conference at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

All 12 of the boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach were brought to safety over the course of a three-day rescue organised by Thai navy SEALs and an worldwide team of diving and caving experts, including 11 from Britain, that ended on Tuesday.

The boys and their coach have been in hospital since then.

Some of the boys lost as much as 11 lb but had started to regain weight in hospital, Piyasakol told reporters.

The boys' coach thanked "every ministry that helped me" and the prime minister, Thai navy SEALs and the doctors.

'The most important thing to have was a full face mask which had been applied inside with positive pressure to enable them to breathe and to be relaxed enough so not to feel any anxiety during the process, ' he said.

"I am in good health now", said one of the boys, a 14-year-old nicknamed Note. "The boys' health is improving ... relatives can now visit them in close proximity", said Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a health ministry inspector.

Two British divers found them on July 2, squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex.

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"Despite all this awesome technology, in the end it took people working together. for this one unifying goal", said American caver Josh Harris, 42, who worked as liason between the foreign divers and the Thais.

Sakolsatayadorn said the 13 were recovering fast.

Volanthen said the death of Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters along the escape route, made the rescue "bitter sweet".

Since the daring rescue mission to save them was completed earlier this week, the boys have been at a Thai hospital, where they are being closely monitored for any possible infections or illnesses. All 13 offered thanks for the support they've been given.

Two boys who are part of the team but did not enter the cave told ABC News before the rescue operation that "Ake" had taken them into the cave many times in the past as a sort of rite of passage and team-building exercise.

He said: "We need to prepare both the children and their families for the attention they will receive when they come out".

The health condition of the boys are safe albeit a few minor infections.

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