The nail-biting rescue mission of a Thai youth soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave complex, that gripped the world for more than two weeks, has finally been accomplished successfully after divers freed the last four of 12 boys and the coach on Tuesday. The news has been greeted by global jubilation and the rescue workers have been lauded by world leaders.
From Real to reel as a movie
The daring rescue operation will be made into a movie by Pure Flix Entertainment, the faith-based production outfit behind the God's Not Dead film franchise. Michael Scott, the CEO and co-founder of Pure Flix, has been on the scene of the rescue for several days. "The bravery and heroism I've witnessed is incredibly inspiring, so, yes, this will be a movie for us," Scott told The Hollywood Reporter.
In case you are not familiar with the background of Thai Rescue Operation, read our complete story of what happened and how an astonishing mission was accomplished against all odds, bringing joy across the globe.
The Complete Story - Thai Cave Rescue (June 23 – July 10)
How it happened?
Twelve boys of the Wild Boars soccer team, ages 11 to 16, and their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, were trapped in a complex cave system on June 23 when they started exploring the caves after going on a picnic following football practice. They cave was dry when they ventured in but were caught out by a sudden deluge of rain, which flooded the system.
Missing Boys found by British Divers
The group was found by two British rescue divers after 10 days in the cave, perched on a rock shelf in a small chamber about 4 km from the cave mouth. Over the past couple of weeks, officials had been exploring different ways to get the boys out, including drilling down into the cave or looking at other entrances to the mountainside.
Emergency Rescue Mission Begins
The rescue operation has become more urgent as heavy rainfall is on the way, so the flooding is set to get worse in the coming days. The perilous rescue operation began on Sunday with thirteen foreign divers and five Thai Navy SEALs. The children have never used diving equipment before and some have had swimming lessons while they were inside the cave.
It had been a daring operation, in which children equipped with diving gear, were ushered through a dangerous tunnel system. Rescue experts and divers from around the world took part in the carefully planned operation, with each boy flanked by two rescue divers on the way to the surface.
Day 1 – Four Boys rescued
The first four boys rescued on Sunday, were flown by helicopter from the Tham Luang cave to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.
Day 2 – Four more boys rescued
Divers have rescued four more boys on the second day of a complex operation. All the four boys were taken to the hospital and were in good health.
Day 3 – Mission Accomplished
Tuesday’s rescue was the most challenging for the team. The final rescue attempt had to extract five of the trapped group, along with an army doctor and three navy SEALs who had stayed underground with the boys. The last four Thai navy SEALs came out safely after completing the rescue mission successfully.
Farmers help in the mission
One of the keys to the success of the mission was a vast pumping operation that saw millions of gallons of water removed from the cave, flooding nearby farmland. Farmers were happy to help even though their fields were ruined. "With the farming, we can make money again. But 13 lives are not something we can create," said a farmer who is proud of his small but significant contribution to the rescue operation.
A former Thai navy Seal diver Saman Cunan has died from lack of air while placing air tanks inside the cave “With this mission complete, may you rest in peace brother Saman, the hero of Tham Luang,” said Thanadej Kongbangpoh, a provincial military official.
Thai social media portrayed the coach Chanthawong, as a hero for looking after the children underground. The football coach apologized to families in a note for what happened and thanked the parents for their support. He also vowed to care for them the best he can and was last the person to leave after all the boys were extracted safely.
Lessons to learn from the Rescue Mission
Officials called the rescue operation as a model for global cooperation. Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said the operation offered a lesson to the world. "I want to see the world love each other. I want to see Thailand love each other like what we have seen today," he said.
The perilous rescue operation of the Thai soccer team has exhibited many factors like international cooperation, true courage, selfless sacrifice, agony, joy, happiness, expertise, compassion, accomplishment and heroism in response to human need.