The father of one of the boys who were stuck in a cave in Thailand stayed outside the cave for 18 days, waiting for news about his son and supporting other families.
As a group of young footballers and their coach got stuck in flooded caves in Thailand almost three weeks ago, families of the boys gathered outside the caves, keeping vigils for their sons and siblings, hoping for news of their rescue.
One father, Adisak Wongsukchan, stayed at the cave site for 18 days, remaining there through his son’s entire ordeal and rescue.
On Tuesday, (July 10) after Adisak’s 14-year-old son, Akarat, had been rescued from the cave, the father expressed how worried he’d been about his son, and how relieved he was Akarat had made it out of the cave.
He also mentioned how thankful he was for all the help and support given, saying he was ‘so happy and appreciative’.
Speaking to CNN , Adisak said:
Parenthood wise, I’m worried about my son. How would he live? How would he eat? I want to hug him… and I want to tell him that I’m happy.
I’m very happy. I don’t know what else to say.
The emotional father descended the mountain and left the cave site, but not without stopping to thank each person he encountered on the way.
Adisak admitted his son had actually been rescued on Monday, (July 10) but he chose to stay with other families at the cave site until every member of the group who were trapped had been rescued – knowing how the families would feel as they waited for their boys to finally emerge from the cave.
I promised the other parents, the five, I will wait and come out together. I’m not going to leave them. We’re going to go together.
Adisak explained he tried to ‘chip in’ any way he could, even trying to support the rescue teams.
The boys were located after nine days, but the flooded caves made their escape a treacherous operation. Initially, it’s thought the boys may have been stuck in the caves for months as rescue teams waited for monsoon season to pass, but thankfully, the incredible divers and other members of the rescue mission managed to find a way to help them escape.
The boys were guided by divers through pitch black tunnels, wearing full-face masks which supplied oxygen to them.
The first four boys were rescued on July 8, but after their successful escape, the rescue had to be postponed to replenish oxygen supplies and give the divers a rest.
Another four boys were rescued on July 9, and the final four boys and their coach made it out of the cave yesterday (July 10).
The boys were transported to a hospital, but were kept from their families until they’d undergone inspections to make sure they hadn’t caught any infections.
Two of the boys had minor lung infections while all other boys remained healthy.
Those who helped on the site and took part in the rescue mission did an incredible job, and our thoughts are with the boys as they recover, as well as with one brave diver who died in the rescue mission, sacrificing himself for the rescue of the boys.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to stories @unilad.co.uk.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.