Thailand’s Mae Sai district has been all over the media lately as 12 local kids belonging to a junior soccer team and their assistant coach found themselves stuck in a cave for 18 days. Today, we’re going to give you a much closer look at the situation and the people involved.
The 12 Wild Boars
The Wild Boars are a junior league soccer team based in the Mae Sai area. They are between the ages of 11 and 17 and are were known amongst the community as remarkable citizens. That said, some of them, however, are more unique than others.
14-year-old Adul was the only person in the cave that could communicate with the English diver who discovered team. Adul had a rather unique upbringing. He was born in the self-governing Wa State in Myanmar. He speaks Thai, Burmese, Chinese, English, and Wa. According to a local teacher, the Wild Boars’ left defender is also a talented Volleyball player. He was a member of Mae Sai’s local team and they came in second in all of Northern Thailand.
Peerapat is the team’s right winger and if not for him, one can assume that none of the kids would have lived. The day of the outing was actually Peerapat’s birthday and all of his teammates brought extra food. These extra rations sustained everyone for a longer amount of time. Peerapat has been described as, “a great lad who just loves to cycle and play football”.
Dugan is the captain of the Wild Boars and just might be on his way to becoming a professional soccer player. Recent reports have stated that many professional clubs have been scouting the young player. The team describes him as a motivator and a member of the team who is highly respected by all his mates. Nopparat has said about the boy, “Players on the field need a captain like this because sometimes the coach can’t get in to solve their problems,”
The Assistant Coach
While some praise Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, the 25-year-old assistant coach for giving up his food rations to the kids in the cave and letting each kid be rescued before him, some also judge his. Afterall, if not for him, he was responsible for those kids and probably should have never let them into the cave to begin with. That said, who exactly is Coach Ake?
Becoming An Orphan
His whole immediate family perished before he could even become a teenager. According to his cousin, “His mother died while he was still very, very young and his father passed away when he was just 10. His brother, his only sibling, also died very young.” With his family gone, he had nowhere to go and decided to flee Mae Sai and embrace a more spiritual life.
In Thailand, when a child has nowhere to go, no parents and is completely alone, they usually embrace the world of spirituality. Assistant coat Ake was no different and for twelve years he’d be a Buddist monk and meditate in a monastery in Lum Phun. He would stay separated from the few family members he had left and would only venture into town once in a great while to visit his grandmother.
Returning From The Monestary
Only a couple of years ago, Ake decided to retire from being a monk and start his life all over again. Despite not being a monk, Ake would still keep close ties to all the temples in town and would often spend his free time praying and meditating. He got very involved with helping the community and would volunteer anyway he could.
Ake’s Heroics In The Cave
Ake took all he learned during his years as a monk and put it into practice while he and the twelve boys were stuck in the cave. For the first few days, he was completely selfless and refused to eat. He put the health and nourishment of the boys before his own and gave them all his rations. When they would begin to panic or get out of control, he remembered his days back at the monastery and taught them how to meditate and clear their minds. He also remembered to stay calm and 25-years-old that isn’t always easy.
How They Ended Up In The Cave
Coach Ake is one of the most respected and trusted members of the community. While some would be quick to write him off as just an assistant coach, he was actually much more. He was a role model and he lived up to the title to the best of his ability. While most 25-year-olds would be chasing girls, he would take the team of field trips, bike rides, and hikes. He wasn’t just trying to make them become good soccer players, but also good men.
Finding The Cave
It was during one of these outings that they came across this cave. A cave can provide a fair amount of risk, but many things came into factor. If anyone knows Thailand, they know that it can be a very hot country. They might have been trying to escape the heat. That said, some of the team members say they went in there because it was Peerapat’s birthday.
The Divers Who Discovered Them
Rick Stanton and Jack Volanthen are the two cave divers who discovered the missing children. While the dramatic video was seen by millions, most don’t know much about the two divers behind the camera. Rick and Jack were two cave divers who had been in more than a few dangerous dives. The dive they took in Thailand was a breeze for them.
They Had No Doubts
Stanton is regarded as the best diver in Europe. When the people in his inner circle heard that he was going to search for the missing kids, they had no doubt that they could find him and they did. When they found the kids, they had been missing for nine days. Upon delivering the good news to the Thai government, they asked if the two would take part in the rescue.
The Seal Who Never Made It
38-year-old Saman Gunan was a former Navy Seal who stepped upon the scene when he heard that the kids were trapped. When he dived, he gave them too much of his own oxygen supply and passed out on his way out of the cave. That’s when he passed in the dark cave and was later retrieved by his comrades.
The Man Behind The Hero
In recent years he had retired from the Navy Seals and was working as a security guard at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. When he passed, Saman left behind a wife has been memorializing him on social media since July 6th. She last left a message that said “You’ll always be with me… There’s no one like you… If you’re not with me, I don’t want to go on breathing… because we promised each other we would use the same breath.”
Dr. Richard Harris
Dr. Richard Harris was another selfless individual during the rescue. Harris wasn’t only an amazing doctor, but he was also a very experienced cave diver. He was the last person to leave the cave after the kids had been rescued. While down there he took care of all of them and made sure that they were safe.
The Tragic News
While July 1oth was a day of extreme celebration throughout Thailand and the world, the day quickly became tragic for the Australian doctor. Shortly after emerging from the cave, he got word that his father had passed away at a hospital in Australia. It was definitely a week of extreme highs and lows for the good doctor.
Standing Out Amongst His Team
Dr. Harris wasn’t the sole doctor on the scene, but he put his heart into 100%. He was one out of 19 personnel involved in the cave rescue. That said, Dr. Harris was the only one would enter the cave in the morning and leave at night on a daily basis. It’s a two-mile swim in and out. It has been said about the doctor, “Harry is a quiet and kind man who did not think twice about offering his support on this mission,”
Tham Luang Nang Non
Tham Luang Nang Non is the name of the cave that the Wild Boars got trapped in. The name is translated as Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady. It lies right beneath Doi Nang Non mountains and is on the border of Myanmar. The cave can go on for miles and miles. It has yet to be fully explored.
Story Behind The Cave
The story behind the caves name is a story of love lost. Legends behind the name tell of Princess who fell madly in love with a stable boy. Knowing they could never openly be together, the pair decided to run away and live together in the cave. While she was sleeping, he went out to get food but was captured by her father and dealt with. It’s said that she was never found.
Open For Tourism
The Thai Government has considered opening up the path that the Wild Boars used to escape as a tourist attraction. If will put you in their position and you can exactly where they waited for all those days. The guide in charge will explain about the cave and what happens during the rainy season.
Cave Rescue Going To Hollywood
Thailand’s cave rescue captured the hearts of millions. We all watched on television and hoped that the Thai boys would be safe. Now that everything has been resolved with that one of kind Hollywood ending, we are wondering if they will make a movie about the cave rescue. Movies based of disasters are a recent trend. The trapped miners in Turkey, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor have all been covered, so why wouldn’t they cover this?
Already In The Making
Capitalizing on the idea, Pure Flix Entertainment has already announced their plans to make a movie based off the cave rescue. What isn’t Hollywood about this incident. It has light tragedy involved, hope, interesting characters and a happy ending. This would make a perfect movie for the whole family.
Welcome To Thailand
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. It is popular for its extreme nightlife, exotic cuisine, and its breathtaking nature. All year round tourist flock to places like Bangkok, Chang Mai, Pattaya and the country’s islands.
Up north and far away from the country’s main tourist attractions is a border city called Mae Sai. Despite the town having a low tourist rate, it is widely popular for being the best place to cross from Thailand to Myanmar. Other then that, one would rarely ever hear anything about Mae Sai. That is until recently. Mai Sai just so happens to be the hometown of the twelve boys that got stuck in the cave.