Almost 4 years ago a youth Thai soccer team found themselves trapped inside a cave. A massive rescue mission had to be organized in an attempt to save 13 lives from an impossible situation.
On June 23rd, 2018, 12 young boys decided to go on an adventure to the Chirang Rai province on the border of Myanmar and Thailand. The reason they went to the mountain range is to celebrate Peerapat “Night” Sompiangjai’s 17th birthday and planned to return in an hour or so. They were members of a local soccer youth team, named Wild Boars. Their assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawong went with them as well.
Miserable conditions at the entrance to #Thamluangcave. Thai navy divers have stopped searching – water levels have risen to fill most caves. Pumping has stopped – too much rain. Authorities say they will rethink strategy for finding missing boys. pic.twitter.com/gWFeFgj7xD
— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) June 28, 2018
Their destination was the Tham Luang cave, a place they went to before. The boys went into the cave with their torches and some snacks to celebrate their teammate’s birthday. They left their cycles and bags outside the cave because their original plan was to stay for an hour or so. The cave becomes flooded with water around the monsoon seasons and it was always advised to enter it between November and March.
Time was passing quickly and the boys weren’t coming back. The boys’ parents become worried and they went to the cave to look for them. Their bags and cycle stash were right outside the cave but the boys were nowhere to be seen. The worried parents informed the police about everything and the search began.
One of the boys after getting out from there said, although they scavenged deep in the Tham Luang cave many times before, the heavy rainfall effects put them in trouble. In an attempt to get out of the cave, the Wild Boars ended up almost 2.5 miles away from the entrance. The elite Thai Navy Seals and other rescue parties were called into the rescue operation.
Did all 13 players from the Thai soccer team survive?
Numerous numbers of search parties and volunteers rushed in to save the boys. On the 2nd of July, exactly 9 days after the boys’ disappearance, British divers John Volanthen and Rick Santon found them. The divers made a video of those boys, who looked considerably thinner but were majorly healthy.
They’re all out! #ThailandCaveSearch @pakhead extraordinary movement The Navy Seal team in charge of the rescue says that everyone trapped in the cave has been brought out, completing an extraordinary and arduous rescue operation that captivated the world …
— Martin Patience (@martinpatience) July 10, 2018
The Wild Boars survived with the snacks they brought for the celebration and through the help of their coach Ake’s encouragement to not give up and meditate to keep their minds calm. Those boys along with their 25-year-old coach were rescued by a ‘superhuman’ rescue operation.
Who died in the Thai cave rescue?
Operations to rescue them through the narrowest parts of the cave were on course. It was a difficult task to rescue those teenagers from that unforgiving mountain cave whereas some of the boys didn’t even know how to swim. The authorities decided to deliver food and oxygen for the boys till a spill-proof plan was in place.
On the 6th of July, the rescue teams were on their duty to deliver oxygen tanks for the boys. However, one of the divers named Saman Gunan, a former Thai Navy Seal member ran out of air himself and died of asphyxiation. His wife said, “Saman once said we never know when we’re going to die… so we need to cherish every day.” Saman was only 38 years old.
Is Tham Luang cave still open?
The Tham Luang cave itself wasn’t really dangerous ever. However, entering the cave during the rainy season is certainly dangerous and the Wild Boars’ horrific experience proves that.
Since the rescue operations of those boys across 8-10th July, the cave wasn’t closed. It was and still is open for visitors. The cave became a huge tourist attraction in Thailand. The spot where the boys were stuck is pointed with arrows and visitors can see that place.