"They weren't scared and they always had hope," the team's translator said on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show

By Caitlin Keating
October 15, 2018 01:26 PM

The 12 children who were trapped in a flooded Thai cave for 18 days appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Monday, in their first group interview since their dramatic rescue in mid-July.

The group, who are all part of a youth soccer team and range in age from 12 to 17, told DeGeneres through a translator that they’re feeling “healthy” and “fine” just months later.

Looking back on the traumatic experience, the young athletes said they never thought they wouldn’t make it out alive.

“They weren’t scared and they always had hope,” their translator said. “They knew that if they don’t come out, eventually someone will have to come in and get them out.”

Ellen DeGeneres
Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

The translator added that the boys’ coach, Ekkaphon Chanthawong — who also appeared on the show — told them to pray, mediate and stay calm.

“When they’re calm they can figure out what they want to do next,” said the translator. “When they mediate, they conserve energy so that they’re not using too much energy in the cave.”

Because none of the boys knew how to swim, they were each sedated when they were finally able to be safely rescued, with each rescue taking eight hours.

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Also during the show, DeGeneres surprised the team with a visit from their favorite soccer player, the L.A. Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimović.

“I thought I was brave,” Ibrahimović said on the show. “But this team is more brave than me. They show their collective team work and patience. This is probably the best team in the world.”

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The team had been exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex in northern Thailand on June 23 when heavy rains and rising floodwaters blocked the team’s path, leaving the group unable to get out.

After their rescue, Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand’s health department, gave reporters an update on the boys’ health.

“From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed,” he said, according to Reuters. “The children were well taken care of in the cave.”