For the past 9 days, much of the world had its eyes glued to the television for one reason: the World Cup. With the global football tournament entering its most decisive stage yet, many fans find themselves following every match in intricate detail, if not for the football bet slips in their hands then for their sheer enthusiasm in the sport.
But unbeknownst to the majority of us, one country found themselves (similarly) stuck to the television screens for the past 9 days, but not for twenty two guys chasing after a single ball. Rather, it’s for a more conservative reason:
News of twelve boys and their assistant football coach, who went missing on 23 June.
Indeed, for those 9 days, Thailand just about turned itself over in its attempt to locate the missing youth football team, and the whole nation waited with bated breath as they hoped for the best scenario to materialise.
And guess what; they were promptly rewarded for their efforts when the missing team were found deep in a flooded cave complex.
Granted, they were looking a bit worse for wear, but the key point’s there.
So without further ado, here’re 10 facts that revolve around this 9-day period of turmoil for not just the relatives of those missing, but for the nation as a whole.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach first disappeared on 23 June during an outing to the cave complex, which stretches 10km beneath the mountains in northern Chiang Rai province. It’s believed that they had set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park, nearby the border with Myanmar.
However, up until Monday (2 July), belongings left at the mouth of the cave and handprints on the walls were all that was left there.
Nothing else, including the thirteen individuals, were found.
2. International operation
A search was promptly launched, and before the nation was even aware of it it had evolved into an international operation, with specialist cave divers and other support flying in to assist. In fact, specialists from Australia, Britain, Japan and China, including over 30 US military personnel, joined existing rescue operations that involved some 1,000 Thai rescuers.
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3. Low morale
Days passed, and the situation wasn’t looking too bright. Distraught, family members of the missing group took to placing fruit, desserts, sugary drinks and sweets on mats near the cave in an attempt to appease spirits, which some people believe protect the cave and forest.
And despite the danger, some insisted on keep vigil outside the cave.
4. 2 July 2018
And on Monday (2 July 2018), they finally found what they’ve been so desperately looking for the entirety of 9 days.
Exhausted, rake thin and sensitive to light, they might not exactly be in peak condition, but the reality is that they’re alive.
“Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life,” Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters who have been following the increasingly desperate search that has gripped the country.
The first to hear the news were the relatives of the boys, who’ve been staking it out at a shelter near the cave in hopes of a breakthrough. They can be seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls, and really, it was an exceptionally pleasing sight to see (even if technically I’m just looking at photos of them smiling).
Rescuers on site were clearly relieved too, shaking hands and congratulating one another as occasional cheers erupted.
It was truly, as my boss would probably put it, a spectacle.
6. Thai Navy SEALs
According to AsiaOne, divers from Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit had been concentrating on an elevated mound inside the cave which cavers have named “Pattaya Beach”.
2/07/18 วันนี้นักดำน้ำ. คน ทั้งจากหน่วยซีล, นักดำน้ำจากการไฟฟ้าฝ่ายผลิตฯ, ชาวอังกฤษ, สวีเดน, อเมริกา, ออสเตรเลีย, จีน, กู้ภัยอยุธยา, กู้ภัยปอเต๊กตึ้ง รวม 81 คน ช่วยกันลำเลียงขวดอากาศ 250 ขวด เข้าสู่ห้องโถง 3 เพื่อให้มนุษย์กบหน่วยซีล นำไปวางไว้เป็นระยะๆ จากโถง 3 ถึงสายแยก ที่เป็นพื้นที่แคบและน้ำเต็มช่องทางเดินน้ำขณะเดียวกัน มนุษย์กบหน่วยซีลอีกจำนวนหนึ่ง พร้อมนักดำน้ำชาวอังกฤษ, สวีเดน เดินหน้าทำเชือกนำทางจากสามแยกไปทางซ้ายมุ่งหน้าพัทยาบีช
Posted by Thai NavySEAL on Monday, 2 July 2018
Believing that the mound could have provided the boys with a refuge when rain flooded the cave, the SEALs went 400 metres ahead and found what the entirety of Thailand wanted to see.
Hooyah…..ทีมหมูป่าพบเยาวชนทีมหมูป่าบริเวณหาดทรายห่างจาก Pattaya beach 200 เมตร โดยนักดำน้ำหน่วยซีลดำน้ำวางไลน์เชือกนำทาง ร่วมกับนักดำน้ำจากประเทศอังกฤษ ระยะทางจากห้องโถง 3 ยาว 1,900 เมตร เมื่อเวลา 21.38 น. คืนวันที่ 2 กรกฎาคม 2561#ThainavySEAL
Posted by Thai NavySEAL on Monday, 2 July 2018
“The SEALs reported that … they reached Pattaya Beach which was flooded. So they went 400 metres further where we found the 13 … who were safe,” Narongsak told the cheering group of reporters.
And the words, “How many of you? Thirteen? Brilliant.” have become classic. Watch the video to hear how they brave these boys were!
7. But wait…
Despite everything, the danger’s still not over, for there’s another obstacle to overcome.
Getting them out of there.
It might sound easy on paper, but reality is a pretty tough bitch. With the cave system still flooded, it’s virtually impossible to extract the stranded members at present moment.
As such, rescuers had contemplated waiting until water levels subside before they rescue the boys, although other options also include teaching the group to use diving gear in an attempt to navigate the cave themselves. Drilling and locating alternative passages have also been considered.
Meanwhile, the boys are currently surviving on energy gel while rescue efforts are underway.
“Power gel and sustenance equipment has been brought … to the team … and we’ve sent people to keep them company until the transport plan can begin,” the Thai Navy SEAL unit’s official Facebook page read.
Ambulances, that have been situated outside the cave since rescue efforts commenced, are ready to transport the boys and the coach once they’re out.
Said Mr Narongsak: “We have medic divers stationed and will determine the best thing to do. We are worried the boys might not be able to consume food after days of being trapped.”
At present moment, it’s reported that 16 Navy SEAL divers have been deployed to the location, called Nern Nom Sao slope, to accompany the boys as well as check on their health and evacuation status.
9. Lying still and drinking water
According to AsiaOne, supposed radio conversations between Navy Seal troops revealed how the trapped individuals managed to get through their nine (10 at the moment) day ordeal.
By lying still and drinking water that dripped through the limestone in the cave.
One can only wonder just how bad their physical condition is, considering that they’ve survived on the bare minimal hydration possible, and no food, for the last ten days.
While rescue efforts have yet to formally end, the governor has not been stingy with his praise.
Apart from complimenting and giving credit to two British cave diving experts, John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, who supposedly found the missing team, Mr Narongsak has also thanked the respective countries for personnel and equipment support.
“The crucial factors that made this operation a success were the well-organised cooperation and management.”
He also sent his appreciation to all the Thai and international volunteers for their dedication in the operation, which he had earlier described as “mission impossible”.
And with that said, we here at Goody Feed hope that the evacuation will take place soon, and that the boys and coach will be relieved of their ten-day long torturous ordeal.
Jia you, you guys can do it!
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