The coach and 11 of the 12 boys kneeled and pressed their hands in together prayer to the sound of chanting monks. They were joined by relatives and friends at the Wat Pra That Doi Wao temple, overlooking Myanmar on Thailand's northern border.
Some said they want to become one of the Navy SEALs who played the essential role in the rescue mission and wished to help more people. It would be another week before they were pulled out of the Tham Luang cave. "So we stopped and listened, and it was actually real". And it turned out to be true.
A former Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, died while placing spare air tanks along the escape route in preparation for the team's rescue.
The boys had no food and survived only on water.
"When the rescuer emerged I said 'Hello, '" Dul said, realizing that the rescuer wasn't Thai but British. "We were very sad".
"(The boys) felt like they were the reason he had to die and his family had to suffer".
The Wild Boars teammates had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for a quick, relaxing excursion after soccer practice.
Doctors and nurses, as well as the Thai navy Seals who stayed with them deep inside the cave following their discovery 10 days after their disappearance, were also present.
They explored the underground tunnels for about an hour, before deciding to turn back around, said Ake.
Because the team had only planned to remain inside for one hour, they did not prepare supplies in advance for their cave exploration, and were soon trapped inside the cave's winding chambers due to rising flood waters. They went home after the press conference. "We have to find another way".
Wearing their football club's kit, the group thanked their rescuers and told how they kept their spirits up in the cave by playing draughts and chess with the divers. "I can finally sleep well last night", he said.
The boys and coach said while in hospital, they had watched the World Cup final between France and Croatia, and most supported France. "Be calm and not shocked".
The boys, who sported crisp haircuts, had gained an average of 3kg each since the rescue, and rain through confidence-building exercises ahead of Wednesday's event, the hospital director said.
"I feel stronger, I have more patience, endurance, tolerance", said 13-year-old Mongkol Boonpiam.
Chanin "Titan" Wibrunrungrueang, 11, said: "I tried not to think about food because it would make me hungry".
He said the excursion was not to celebrate anyone's birthday, and they had meant to leave after spending an hour inside.
"He recounted how Ekapol told them to "'quickly get down there, that's the sound of a person, or else they're going to pass on by, ' something like that". "Thank you from the depths of my heart", one boy read. The dangers of the complicated operation, in which the boys were extracted in three separate missions with diving equipment and pulleys through the tight passageways, were not discussed.
Asked why they had gone into the cave, Mr Ekkapol, 25, said: "I was not the one who invited them into the cave".
After realising they were trapped, one of the boys admitted: 'I was really afraid I would not be able to return home'. They were treated for minor infections. I said "Hello", or something like that.
Several said they want to become professional soccer players, while four said they wanted to emulate the heroes who saved them.
All expressed their apologies to their families.
When we were trapped inside, I immediately thought, 'I am going to get scolded'.
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