It’s hard to imagine what it’d be like should ever find ourselves trapped in the most claustrophobic of caves in the pitch black.
But for a group of 12 Thai boys and their coach, they went through just that for two weeks, in the most horrendous conditions.
The huge effort to rescue the youth football team has since been successful thanks to help of humanity’s greatest.
A team, which consisted of divers and aid workers, had been working tirelessly to ensure the kids and their coach made it out of the cave in Tham Luang Nang Non, which is located in the northern Thailand province of Chiang Rai.
When they were discovered they were apparently meditating, all thanks to coach Ekapol Chanthawong. He was orphaned at age 10 before training to be a monk. However, he left the monastery to care for his grandmother and became a manager for a new football team.
His aunt, Umporn Sriwichai, said of him, as reported by news.com.au:
I always believed that Chanthawong would help them keep calm and optimistic, and he loved us very much.
Because he had experienced the pain of losing loved ones since he was very young … we cannot stand such tragedies anymore.
It was Chanthawong who taught the boys to meditate in order to preserve their energy and maintain calm.
In a letter sent through to divers, he wrote:
Right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible.
I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologise to the parents.
Chanthawong is now suffering from malnutrition after giving too much of the food in the cave to the boys.
The first of the boys were rescued two days ago (July 8) while the ongoing rescue mission saw eight of the footballers out by the end of the second day. Today, (July 10), it was announced the final four boys and their 25-year-old coach have now emerged from the cave.
Nineteen divers went into the cave system around 10.08am local time and authorities were confident of getting the remaining five all out at the same time. They also expected the mission to take a few hours less than it had the previous two days.
The first four boys to have emerged from the cave have seen their parents with the others expected to see their families for the first time in weeks in the coming days – once health checks have taken place.
Two of the boys have minor lung infections while all others remain healthy. All the boys are being shielded from TV and media in order to protect their mental health.
What a remarkable yet sad story. Ekapol and the rescue team’s efforts – and eventual victory i- s something we should never forget.
The world may seem pretty ugly at the minute, but there’s always going to be the good guys.
Our thoughts are with the family friends of everyone involved.
If you have a story you want to tell, contact UNILAD at [email protected]