Daily News Roundup

July 19, 2018

Image: ABC News

Thursday, July 19

“How many of you?” asked British divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton.

The faint voice of 14-year-old Adul (Adun) Samon answered instantly in clear English.

“Thirteen,” he said in the triumphant moment caught on camera that captured the hearts of people across the globe and changed the course of the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped deep inside a Thai cave.

As the rescuers and the world breathed a sigh of relief, Adun and his friends could only think of one thing, reports the ABC

“I just said, ‘Eat, eat, eat!'” said Adun with a boyish laugh as he sat before a crowd of reporters from around the world, many of which had been camping at the mouth of the Tham Luang cave for almost two weeks.

After eight days in quarantine, the Wild Boars were released from hospital on Wednesday for the media conference that aired live around the world.

The boys smiled, joked and laughed as they told their stories and thanked the Navy SEALs who got them out.

Adun was the first to speak as he told the story of those first precious moments when they heard the rescuers approach.

“In the evening, we were sitting around and we heard someone … and I asked our team members to quiet down, because I heard some conversation,” he said.

“I started to listen and it becht go past us,” he said.

Adun grabbed the torch and called out, “Hello”.

Adun asked one of his friends who had a torch to move closer to the sound.

“Quickly, go down to have a look”. Someone was raising their head above the water and said, ‘hello’. I went in there and the noise [replied], ‘hello, is anyone there?’

“When they came out of the water, I was surprised. I didn’t know what to [say] to them.

“I said ‘Hello’, or something like that … it was so magnificent.”

Adun said it took him a while to think of what to say, but when asked how many of them there were, his answer was immediate.

“Thirteen? Brilliant!” was the reply from two very happy rescuers.

Adun is one of at least three boys, as well as their coach Ekkapol Chantawong, who are stateless and sought refuge in Thailand.

But officials said the four would soon be beginining the process of Thai nationalisation.

Adun was born in Myanmar’s self-governing Wa State and left his family behind to get a better education in northern Thailand, according to a report by AFP.

He speaks English, Burmese, Mandarin and Thai and played an important role in the rescue by acting as interpreter for the British divers.

While Adun was talking to the divers in those first moments, the boys’ coach asked him to translate.

Adun was so engaged in the conversation he didn’t reply. He kept talking to the divers in English.

Another of the boys Aekarut Wongsukjan, known as Bew, tried to translate what they were saying.

“I couldn’t hear, they talked so fast,” Bew said.

“Everyone was so happy when they heard the noise of the divers. It was the first noise from outside in 10 days.”

Adun said the whole experience had taught him some important life lessons.

“This incident has taught me that not thinking ahead before we do something is something that will affect our future,” he said.

“As I survived this incident, I will live a fuller life — the fullest life — that I am able to.”

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Two weeks after Tristan Sik was critically injured in a road accident, doctors advised his parents to turn off his life support permanently, but they ignored that advice believing he would get better. They were right.

On July 15, 2017 Tristan was riding his bike through his home town in Rainbow Beach, Queensland when he hit the bull bar of a four-wheel drive travelling at 60 kilometres per hour.

An ABC report said the town’s only ambulance officer, Marc Shearman, was the first emergency responder to arrive at the scene.

“I got a call that a young child had been hit by a car and unfortunately he sustained quite severe head injuries and he was quite unwell,” Mr Shearman said.

“Myself and the other paramedics and doctors on scene were all very concerned at what the potential outcome would have been on that day.

“I don’t think many of us held much hope that he would survive the accident.”

Tristan was flown to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (LCCH) in Brisbane in a rescue helicopter with his mother, Carolyn Elder, by his side while his stepfather, Dave Elder, made the 240km drive to Brisbane.

After two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit doctors advised Tristan’s parents to switch off his life support as they believed he had no chance of recovery.

“It was quite surreal,” Mrs Elder said.

“I was in the shower that night crying, sitting in the corner bawling my eyes out and I just heard the words, ‘Give him more time’.

“So every step of the way that’s what I’ve done.”

In an attempt to show the futility of keeping Tristan alive, doctors demonstrated what would happen if his life support was stopped.

“The doctor pulled the tubes out and he maintained his airway so he could breathe unassisted and the doctor actually said to me, ‘Wow, I’m shocked’,” Mrs Elder said.

“Two days later that doctor came back into Tristan’s room and said, ‘I’m here to eat my words. We haven’t seen what Tristan is capable of’.”

Tristan returned home after almost six months in hospital and he started improving “beyond belief”.

Doctors told the family he achieved milestones in six weeks they thought would take eight months.

“I don’t know if it was the sensory input of being home and us getting him out every day in his hometown, but it was like a switch was turned on,” Mrs Elder said.

The family had been told Tristan would never be able to put a cup to his mouth but he started sucking on a lollipop.

He started opening his eyes on command and began walking with assistance, and in the last six months the improvements have further confounded doctors.

Tristan’s Grandmother, Maree Robinson, could not be prouder of her daughter for her resilience in caring for Tristan.

“Right from the word go when everything was so devastating she just kept praying for Tristan to survive,” Mrs Robinson said.

“She has three other children to look after and still to this day I just don’t know how she kept going and kept her family together.

“I’ve seen her so wiped out. I mean physically, mentally exhausted, but still being the best mother she could be to the other children and being there and talking to Tristan and saying she had his back all the time.”

#####

President Donald Trump has again contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying that Russia was not still targeting the United States, and accusing his critics of being deranged.

The day after he tried to quiet a political uproar over his failure to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Helsinki summit for Moscow’s 2016 election meddling, Trump adopted his usual defiant posture and dismissed assessments of Russia from the intelligence community.

“We’re doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia.

And there’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia,” Trump said before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, adding that Putin “understands it and he’s not happy about it.”

Asked by reporters whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump shook his head and said, “No.”

US intelligence officials have said Russian election interference efforts are continuing and now target the upcoming congressional elections in November.

Trump’s comments followed a series of early morning Twitter posts on Wednesday in which the Republican president said his heavily criticised summit with Putin would eventually produce “big results” and accused his critics of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

“Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!,” the president wrote.

Trump has faced bipartisan fury at home since the summit in Finland.

Critics have accused him of siding with Russia over his own country by failing to criticise Moscow for what US intelligence agencies last year described as Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election in an attempt to sow discord, aid Trump’s candidacy and disparage Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Putin has denied allegations of election interference.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at a news briefing hours later that the president’s “no” was not in answer to a reporter’s question,

“Is Russia still targeting the US?” Sanders said Trump meant he did not want to answer questions.

“The president … was saying ‘No’ to answering questions,” Sanders said.

“The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past.”


This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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