By: Mila Hart
On June 23, 2018, a soccer team made up of twelve boys aged eleven to sixteen and their twenty five year old coach, became trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiangmai Rai province in northern Thailand.
In mid July, the caves close because they flood due to the monsoon season. The boys entered the cave on June 23 thinking that they would not be at risk of getting trapped by rising waters.
It was not uncommon for the local kids to play and visit the cave when it wasn’t monsoon season. The boys thought they had more time before that season would begin, but they were unfortunately mistaken.
They became stranded in the caves after a sudden and continuous downpour blocked all exits. The rain would only get worse and worse because it was the beginning of the monsoon season. This means that if they did not find the boys as soon as possible then there would be no hope of getting them out.
After being missing for ten days, British divers found the missing boys perched on a rocky ledge. After being located the boys were joined by Thai navy seals and received food, water, blankets, and minor medical aid.
Once the boys were found, they had to act fast to get them out of the cave. Monsoon season would soon be hitting at full force and even though they’re were many engineers and volunteers working on pumping water out of the cave it would not be enough to stop the water from rising at extreme speeds.
The cave is a twisting, turning six mile complex of narrow passages. The boys were trapped two and a half miles into the cave, most of which was nearly completely underwater. When cave diving you are fully submerged in a narrow space and can’t see more than four inches in front of you because the water is dark and muddy. So, this meant that the only way to safely remove the boys was to sedate them so they wouldn’t panic, put them in special gear so they wouldn’t drown, and have them be guided out of the caves by professional cave divers.
Getting all of the boys out of the cave took three days. Three to four boys, plus their coach being removed from the cave each day. Once each of them made it out of the cave they were immediately put into ambulances and taken to the hospital.
All of the boys and the coach lived. The rescue effort involved over 100,000 people. These people were divers, many types of rescue workers, representatives from around 100 governmental agencies, police officers, and soldiers.
For more information, please see the documentary ‘The Rescue’ on Disney+