Thailand Cave Rescue: ’20/20′ Interview With Soccer Team & Their Coach Set To Air Saturday


UPDATED, 3:27 PM: ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman’s interview with the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand last month after nearly weeks will air Saturday, ABC said today.

The net said the boys offer previously unknown details including the excitement they felt when they first entered the cave, their time studying at a Buddhist temple after the rescue, and their enthusiasm and dreams for the future – including one boy who says he wants to become a Navy SEAL. Coach Ekkapol “Ek” Chantawong also gives details about the moment he first realized they were trapped, how he kept the boys calm in the cave and how grateful he is that they are all alive.

PREVIOUSLY, July 10: Three Thai Navy SEALs and an army doctor have made it out of the flooded Tham Luang Cave where earlier they’d successfully rescued 12 boys and a soccer coach, bringing an end to a terrifying 18-day ordeal that was, at least for the last week or so, a cable news media event that challenged every latest Trump scandal for airtime.

“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what,” read the post on the official Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page this morning. “All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave.” (The Wild Boars is the name of the kids’ soccer team).

The boys and their coach are expected to spend at least one week at Chiang Rai hospital for observation and protection against possible infections.

The Facebook announcement today signaled that the last four of the boys and the 25-year-old coach had been rescued Tuesday, joining the eight boys who had been delivered to safety Sunday and Monday.

President Donald Trump congratulated the Thai SEALs on Twitter. “On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand. Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!” (See the tweet below).

The boys, ages 11-16, along with their coach, had been stranded in the cave since June 23, when their playful exploration turned perilous as the cave flooded with monsoon rains. They were discovered 10 days later by two British divers, but a rescue had seemed all but impossible due to the necessity of swimming through water-filled passages.

By this past weekend, more than 100 divers, as well as support and medical staff, were at the scene as the first boys were brought out. The rescue mission took the life of 38-year-old volunteer Saman Gunan last Friday, a former Navy SEAL who died underwater after running out of air.

Along with the rescue workers, the expected contingent of media from around the world have been on scene, including CBS News’ Ben Tracy, ABC News’ James Longman, NBC News’ Janis Mackey Frayer and Bill Neely, correspondents from CNN, and extensive coverage on MSNBC and Fox News.

Tonight, ABC News will air a special edition of 20/20 – Triumph in Thailand, renamed from the earlier Thailand Rescue: Race Against Time – which the network says will include minute-by-minute accounts and interviews with, among others, classmates of the rescued boys. The hourlong report is scheduled for 9 pm on ABC.

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