Boys rescued from Thai cave become Buddhist novices

Australia's Craig Challen and Richard Harris who were part of the Thailand cave rescue team stand together after an official ceremony at Government House in Canberra

Australia's Craig Challen and Richard Harris who were part of the Thailand cave rescue team stand together after an official ceremony at Government House in Canberra

Praphun Khomjoi, chief of Chiang Rai's Buddhism office, said Sunday that the 12 to be ordained will also dedicate their merit-generating act of entering the monkhood to a volunteer diver and former Thai navy SEAL, Samarn Gunan, who died while diving during a mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks essential to helping the boys escape.

The young soccer teammates and their coach who were trapped in a Thai cave have attended a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks.

A twelfth boy will not participate as he is a Christian.

The boys and their coach lit yellow candle sticks at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao, a scenic temple in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, where the boys are from.

Trays of candies, fruits and sugary drinks were placed in front of Buddha statues wrapped in shiny gold cloth.

When were the Thai boys rescued?

Harris sedated the boys and coach before they were taken out by divers over three days, concluding July 10. They had been trapped on June 23.

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British divers eventually found the boys perched on a ledge in complete darkness after the Thai government sought help from the worldwide community.

The operation to extract the team involved a core team of 18, including 13 foreign divers. They will leave the monastery and return to civilian life after nine days (on August 3).

Their rescue was met by huge cheers while millions of people around the world followed live reports of their progress.

Since they were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, the boys have been spending time at home. They spoke of their ordeal last week at a news conference organised by the government.

They also offered numerous apologies for going inside the cave and for the worry they had caused their parents.

The practice of becoming ordained is believed to bring blessings and honour to Thai Buddhist families and is a common practice in the country. After that, the group will stay for more than a week at a religious center near Thailand's northern border with Myanmar.

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