Thailand’s prime minister said that 12 boys who were rescued from a flooded cave were given an anti-anxiety medication to help with the rescue.
Asked at a weekly news conference on Tuesday if the boys were sedated, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told The Associated Press: “Who would chloroform them? If they’re chloroformed, how could they come out?”
He added, “It’s called anxiolytic, something to make them not excited, not stressed.” An anxiolytic is a medication or other intervention that inhibits anxiety, including benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Lorazepam, and others. “I also take them when I am shooting,” he said, The Guardian reported.
There were reports, including one from the New York Post, quoting a local media outlet in Bangkok, that claimed the boys were “medically sedated” for the dangerous trek through the flooded Thai caves. However, the Thai prime minister’s comments to the media appear to disprove the reports.
All 12 soccer players—ranging in age between 11 and 16—were freed as of Tuesday. Their 25-year-old coach was also rescued. Their group was cut off when heavy rains flooded the cave they were exploring.
As of Tuesday, Thai Navy SEALs said that the four-member military team that stayed with the boys in their cavern for days also left the cave. It means the rescue operation is complete.
On Friday, Saman Gunan, a 38-year-old former Navy SEAL diver who helped rescue the boys, died when he ran out of air carrying oxygen tanks.
“They are getting forced to do something that no kid has ever done before. It is not in any way normal for kids to go cave diving at age 11,” Ivan Karadzic, a diver involved in the mission, was quoted by AsiaOne as saying. “They are diving in something considered (an) extremely hazardous environment in zero visibility, the only light that is in there is the torch light we bring our self.”
President Donald Trump congratulated those involved in the rescue.
Trump tweeted: “On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand.”
He added, “Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!”