Social Issues

Thailand ‘s “Wild Boars” Football Team Relive Rescue Moment

For the first time since their rescue, the 12 boys from the flooded cave in Thailand have come out describing the “moment of miracle” when divers found them.

14 year-old Adul Sam-on, who is the only member of the group who speaks English, told reporters he could only say “hello” when the British divers surfaced.

The boys – 12 in all – are members of a junior football team, the Wild Boars. They appeared in their club’s kit at a news conference in Chiang Rai. They were greeted by a banner that read “Bringing the Wild Boars Home” on a stage designed to look like a football pitch. Alongside with the boys are members of the Thai Navy Seals who helped rescue them.

One of the boys described how they had lived only on water from the stones of the cave. “Water is clean,” he said. “No food.”

Most of the boys disclosed that they had learnt one lesson or the other from their ordeal. One promised to be “more careful and live my life the fullest”. Another said: “This experience taught me to be more patient and strong.”

Ekapol Chantawong, the team’s coach was also rescued with the boys. He paid tribute to Saman Kunan, a Navy Seal who died during the operation.
“We are impressed that Saman sacrificed his life to save us so that we could go and live our lives. Once we heard the news, we were shocked,” he said. “We were very sad. We felt like… we caused sadness to his family.”

Chiang Rai’s provincial governor, Prachon Pratsukan, disclosed that this would be the boys’ “only official media interview”, saying that there would “be no more speaking with the press after this”.

The boys got trapped during an excursion with their coach. They entered the Tham Luang cave in the northern district of Chiang Rai on 23rd of June. They had planned to be there for only an hour but found themselves trapped after a sudden bout of heavy rain flooded the cave complex, blocking their only way out.

Parents of the children soon informed officials they were missing, and a search and rescue operation began. The boys survived on water dripping from the cave. After nine days the boys were found by two British rescue divers.

But the celebration of been discovered quickly turned to concern as it became clear just how difficult it would be to rescue boys weakened by their time underground with no food. The dangers of the journey were underscored by the death of the ex-Thai Navy Seal diver.

The boys were trapped in the Tham Luang caves for more than two weeks before they were all rescused successfully.

The boys are due to be ordained as Buddhist monks for a short period of time, a tradition for males in Thailand who have experienced a misfortune.

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