Twelve boys rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand shed tears as they paid tribute to a diver who died during the rescue mission.
The “Wild Boars” football team are recovering in hospital after spending 18 days in Tham Luang cave, where they were trapped by monsoon floodwaters on 23 June, Skynews has said.
Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day rescue operation which ended when teams of Thai Navy SEALs and international cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team and their coach to safety.
But tragedy struck during the final phase of the mission when volunteer diver and former Navy SEAL Saman Kunan died while installing oxygen tanks along the passageways of the cave.
He was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, have only just been told about his death after a medical team said they were now mentally strong enough to handle the news.
The Thailand health ministry said in a statement that the boys were upset when told what happened.
It said: “All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him.”
Photos released by the health ministry show the youngsters crowded around a sketch of Mr Saman writing messages on it and bowing their heads in commemoration.
The statement added: “They also thanked him and promised to be good boys.”