In a video, one of the children displays a peace sign to the camera as his football teammates rest in beds in a hospital ward.
Nurses are seen sitting at the end of their beds wearing masks, gloves and hairnets.
Some of the parents are seen crying and waving to them from behind a glass barrier, which the boys are being kept behind in order to prevent infections.
The pictures come as those who took on the remarkable rescue mission revealed the youngsters passed through the flooded cave sleeping on stretchers.
A former Thai navy SEAL, who was the last diver to leave the cave, said the children were groggy but breathing.
Commander Chaiyananta Peeranarong said Some of them were asleep, some of them were wiggling their fingers… [as if] groggy, but they were breathing.
He also said the boys’ condition and pulse had to be checked constantly by doctors stationed along the dark corridors of the Tham Luang cave in the north of Thailand.
He added My job was to transfer them along… the boys were wrapped up in stretchers already when they were being transferred.
The children were also given a minor tranquilliser to calm their nerves, according to Thailand’s junta chief, who denied they were knocked out for the rescue mission.
The mission involved 13 foreign divers – around half of which were British.
The director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, has said the group will have to remain in hospital for up to 10 days and that they would need a further 30 days at home to recover.
He said all 13 rescued – including the boys’ 25-year-old football coach – and four navy SEALs were well.
The group was retrieved following a risky three-day operation which concluded on Tuesday. Four of the boys were freed on Sunday, another four were released on Monday and the final four plus their coach were rescued on Tuesday.
The boys had gone missing while exploring the cave after football practice with their coach on 23 June. But bursts of monsoon rain caused the water inside the cave to rise, leaving them trapped.
They were discovered 10 days later by two British divers, who found them huddled on a small, dry shelf above the water.
Monsoon rains forecast for this week added to concerns about falling oxygen levels inside the cave and forced rescue workers from several countries – including the UK – to work even faster to free the group.
They had already pumped some water out of the cave to allow air pockets to form, making a rescue possible.
The leader of the US rescue team said the youngsters endured dives in zero visibility for up to half-an-hour and were placed in harnesses and high-lined across parts of the cave.
Derek Anderson, 32, a rescue specialist with the US air force in Japan, said the boys – aged between 11 and 16 – were incredibly resilient.
What was really important was the coach and the boys all came together and discussed staying strong, having the will to live, having the will to survive, he said.
Public health inspector Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong said the boys took care of themselves well in the cave despite losing weight during their 18-day ordeal.
He said the first four rescued were now eating regular food and able to walk, while the four pulled out on Monday are on soft food. He said three of the 12 boys had lung infections and would need to take medication for a week.
Speaking about the rescue operation, Mr Anderson said the team laid a rope in the cave to guide them in and out, calling it a lifeline.
He said about 100 people were inside the cave for the respective operations as each boy was handled by dozens of rescue workers through nine chambers.
Cylinders were also placed at checkpoints throughout the cave to replenish the boys’ air supply.
He said The world just needs to know that what was accomplished was a once-in-a-lifetime rescue that I think has never been done before.
We were extremely fortunate that the outcome was the way it was. It’s important to realise how complex and how many pieces of this puzzle had to come together.
News Source SkyNews