We all know about the lovely picturesque beaches and caves of Thailand which have enchanted and awed both tourists and locals alike who frequent to these places to enjoy some time on a slice of heaven on earth. The Thai under-16 soccer team, along with their 25-year-old coach, had been to the Tham Luang caves a number of times before. But on their recent adventure, it proved to be deadly for them. Consistent rain flooded the caves, stranding the 12 boys (between ages 11 and 16) and their coach.
Nine days later, thanks to two British divers, the 12 missing youths and their coach were found. Rescue operations that have been going on for over a week were regularly covered by the national newspapers of Thailand. And now, the sensational news that the kids were found, alive and well, has hit various international headlines across the globe.
How Did They Get Stranded?
The northern province of Chiang Rai in Thailand is a lot more exotic and less-traveled area. It is here that you will find the cave complex of Tham Luang Nang Non. It is a highly complicated cave complex on a mountain located near the border of Thailand and Myanmar. On June 23, the young boys, who belonged to a local football club called Mu Pa, set out to explore the caves of Tham Luang. However, it started raining quite heavily as soon as they got in. Rainwater flooded the narrow dark tunnels that connected the caves. The kids had left their bicycles and soccer boots near the entrance. When a ranger found them, he immediately alerted the authorities, understanding what had happened.
The Beginning Of Week-Long Rescue Operations
A rescue team was immediately formed and dispatched to track the boys. But the rain gods were not appeased yet, and more rain flooded the entrance of the caves, making it terribly difficult to continue the search operations. These were no ordinary rescuers, but the Thai Navy SEAL who were highly trained to handle situations like this. But even then, they couldn’t find the boys or locate their position.
As news of the rescue operations reached other countries, everyone offered to help. Thirty personnel belonging to the United States Pacific Command and British cave diving rescue experts, Richard Stanton, John Volanthen, and Robert Harper, joined in the search operations. As these people continued to search in water, the police cordoned the land area and started looking for openings that might help them enter the cave through another way. They were accompanied by sniffer dogs.
The Divers Find The Boys
The British cave diving experts Stanton and Volanthen found the boys on July 2 at 10 PM local time. It was indeed a huge relief for the family members of the stranded, as they were told that all 13 of them are alive and healthy. Truth is, the kids didn’t have any idea how long they were trapped within the confines of the cave. The operation was still on, as the main task was to bring the kids out and into safety.
The very next day, a team of seven divers, including a doctor and nurse, went to the place where the boys and their coach were stranded. They were given food, and each of them underwent a health check-up. A video was posted by the Thai Navy Seals, where each of the boys and their coach greeted the world with a hello. They looked thin and fatigued, but at least, they were alive.
Present Situation Under Control
Though the football team and their coach were found alive, it was becoming difficult to get them out of the cave. Many of them didn’t even know how to swim, making things all the more complicated. The government had installed pumps near the entrance of the caves that sucked the water out, but initially, it was not helping. However, as per the latest news, since the rains have decreased, all 13 of them might be able to walk out of the cave. Families and friends of the 12 boys and the coach had been camping near the cave all this time, and it seems like their prayers have been finally answered. The water levels have receded about 40% with the help of the pump, let’s hope that all 13 of them stranded for close to 10 days now will soon see the light of the day and their loved ones.