It has been one year since twelve Thai boys and their coach went missing after being trapped in a cave in Thailand.
To mark the occasion, the rescued boys participated in a religious ceremony held at the entrance of the cave. They also took part in a charity marathon and bike event to raise funds to improve the conditions at the Tham Luang cave, which is now a huge tourist attraction.
On 23 June 2018, twelve boys of the Wild Boars football team, aged between 11 and 16, along with their coach headed for a day-long trip to the Tham Luang caves in the Chiang Rai province of Thailand. They entered the cave alright. However, heavy rains flooded the cave subsequently, trapping the entire group 4 kilometres within the cave.
What followed next was one of the most complex, innovative, and dangerous rescue operations that the world has ever seen. It is remarkable that this operation included divers and volunteers from across the world.
How did the rescue operations move forth?
The operation started off with Vernon Unsworth, a specialist cave diver, who called for other divers from across the United Kingdom whom he believed needed to be a part of this complex operation. It included three divers from the United Kingdom – Rob Harper, Rick Stanton, and John Volanthen.
John Volanthen and Rick Stanton initiated the operations with an exploratory dive into the caves on 28 June. The conditions inside the cave were treacherous, thanks to the persistent rains, rising water levels, and strong currents.
The search for the team started on 1 July. However, it was only the next day that the team was found. Remarkably, the boys were in great shape considering that they had been isolated from the rest of the world and were without food and light for more than a week. It was reported that the coach helped the kids maintain sanity in such situations by teaching them to meditate.
But, finding the team alive was only the tip of the iceberg. Their rescue operation now needed to be planned and executed meticulously.
After deliberating on various plans to rescue the kids that included teaching the children diving skills to waiting for the monsoon season to end, the team zeroed down on the most effective one.
It was at this time that Richard Harris – an aesthetician and cave diver from Australia – was brought into the mission. He sedated the children so that they would not panic during this complex operation. They were strapped to a stretcher and suspended from a rope pulley system that was attached to the roof of the cave.
It was on 10 July that all the thirteen people trapped inside the cave were safely rescued. In totality, this operation involved more than 10,000 people from across the globe including divers, rescue workers, police officers, and soldiers.
Unfortunately, there was one casualty in the entire operation – Saman Gunan from the Thai Navy SEAL, who lost his life when taking the oxygen tanks into the cave before the rescue operation began.
This rescue operation will be remembered forever as one where the world came in together to save precious lives! What do you think about it? Do let us know your thoughts.