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Saving the Lost Boys
A Story of Survival
Soon, national rescue efforts attracted international attention.The perilous conditions brought in not only the Thai Navy Seal team, but also expert divers from around the world to try to rescue the boys.The environment inside the cave was punishing for divers trying to locate the missing boys:The rains had caused most areas to fill with water, and the caverns were labyrinth-like, with some sections being so narrow humans could barely fit through them. After several days, one diver located an air pocket past the boys’ hangout. As the diver surfaced and held up his torch, he illuminated a miraculous sight — a group of young boys descending from a cavern ledge.“How many of you are there?” he asked. 13 was the answer. Now that the boys were located, rescuers needed to get them out. The situation had to be handled carefully. They strapped each boy to a diver with oxygen and took them out one by one. The intricate rescue began on July 7 and took place over many hours. On July 10, all 13 boys and the rescuers were out — weak but alive. How did the boys remain calm during their time inside the cave? Their assistant coach, Coach Ake, was a former monk and taught the boys to meditate. This also helped conserve energy and oxygen. One Thai Navy Seal stated just how miraculous the boys’ successful rescue was.“We are not sure if this is a miracle, science, or what.”
Last month, one soccer team captured our attention. No, it wasn’t France or Croatia; it was theWild Boars — a team of young players in Thailand who found themselves trapped in a cave amidst an unpredictable monsoon season. International attention shifted focus to see if, and how, the boys would be rescued. Against all odds, they were saved. This is their story. In early June, the teammates were at soccer practice before they gathered to celebrate one teammate’s birthday. Before heading home, theWild Boars and their assistant coach made time for a visit to the nearby Tham Luang cave, a favorite hangout for locals and tourists who enjoy exploring the deep caverns and beaches within Mae Sai’s mountain system. TheWild Boars had visited the cave before and often stopped at a well-known section within the cave, Pattaya Beach, to celebrate important events by signing their names on the cave walls. But water levels can quickly rise during monsoon season. The boys were caught off guard by an unexpected surge of water that forced them deeper inside the cave. As water flowed in, the boys retreated to a cavern four kilometers inside the cave. It looked like an exit anytime soon would be unlikely. Back at home, parents of the team members began to worry. The boys should have been home to begin the birthday celebration of their teammate. Knowing that the cave was a hangout spot for theWild Boars, the parents headed for Tham Luang. After seeing the bikes and soccer shoes sitting outside the cave, they knew something was wrong. Following their usual routine, the boys entered the cave — and wouldn’t re-emerge for two more weeks.
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