The first children rescued from the Thai caves earlier this week are craving tons of food

The first children rescued from the Thai caves earlier this week are craving tons of food

The world breathed a sigh of relief after recently finding out divers in northern Thailand have rescued all 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves, 17 days after they got trapped underground.

Aged between about 11 and 17, the members of the Wild Boars football team had entered the Tham Luang cave system in the province of Chiang Rai during an excursion with their coach. They got stuck deep inside the caves on 23 June, after heavy rains caused flooding and cut off their route out.

The first of the boys were brought out on Sunday, but the last of the group was only freed earlier today. The first four boys rescued from the flooded Thai cave network are recovering in hospital, and it's assumed the others will join them soon. The first four, however, have made the news for having some serious pangs for their favourite foods.

At a press conference celebrating the rescue on Sunday night, the official coordinating the rescue gave an update on their condition. Narongsak Osottanakorn told waiting journalists: "Four boys are okay at the hospital and this morning they already asked for rice with basil." The particular dish in question is pad kra pao, a fried rice dish which is usually served with chicken.

Meanwhile, the boys’ friends and classmates are just waiting for news that everyone is safe—and they’re already making lunch plans. Poowadet Khamngern, a 14-year-old who is also a member of the Wild Boars team, told USA today that they’ll all be “going to eat fried chicken at KFC” when they’re reunited. “When my friends are back, we will do everything as normal,” Waranchit Kankaew, another 14-year-old Wild Boar said. “We will go to lunch together, we will play football together.”

Shortly before the rescue operations began, the Thai Navy SEALs posted a few letters the trapped boys had written to their family members. “Dad, Mom don't worry about me," 11-year-old Chanin Viboonrungruang wrote. "I am fine. Please tell (my aunt) to take me to eat fried chicken. Love you all.” (The boy’s dad told CNN that his aunt had promised to take him to KFC.) “We really want to go out and eat so many types of food,” the boys wrote in a group letter.

In an indication of how dangerous the journey out was, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday. Saman Gunan was returning from a mission to provide the group with air tanks when he ran out of oxygen.

It was a difficult time but confirming the completion of the rescue operation, the Thai Navy Seals Facebook page announced: "All 12 Wild Boars and coach have been extracted from the cave. All are safe." Families in Chiang Rai gathered at the hospital to watch the final ambulances bring in their precious cargo. Some said they couldn't believe it, others said they had never lost hope. All wore the brightest of smiles.