How the Thai boys and coach were rescued

During the time when the boys and their coach were being rescued from their long stay in the caves, there was not much information about how the rescue was carried out. More details have now emerged of how they survived their ordeal in the cave and how the rescue endeavor that was much more harrowing and difficult than I had imagined. It was sad that a navy seal died in the rescue attempt.

How they carried semi-conscious or very drowsy boys through the technically challenging early stages of the journey out, with a lot of diving in narrow passages, we do not know.

At times they may have been strapped to a diver’s body. Later they were strapped on to a stretcher and suspended from a rope pulley system attached to the cave roof.

The entire operation was complex, innovative and very bold. Nothing like it has been attempted before. Some of those involved described the tasks undertaken by the core divers, who carried the boys out, as superhuman.

The rescue came close to disaster on occasion.

What was also heartwarming about this story was also how people from all over the world pooled their resources and expertise to enable the rescue. While the Thais ran the operation skillfully, they were willing to freely share the credit for the success with their foreign collaborators. If only we could do the same for other situations.

I read that a Christian organization is planning to make a film about it. I suspect that they will, as usual, credit their god for the rescue without blaming him for endangering them in the first place.


  1. DonDueed says

    The most interesting factoid: apparently the boys were sedated during the extraction. Seems very risky. I suppose they felt that the possibility of the boys panicking was more worrisome than the various potential problems of the sedation.

  2. rjw1 says

    Why the team and their coach entered the cave system during the monsoon requires an explanation. They weren’t naive foreign tourists but locals.

  3. blf says

    I suppose they felt that the possibility of the boys panicking was more worrisome than the various potential problems of the sedation.

    Yes, that is what I’ve read. From memory, and as shown in the above illustrations (and a few (headcam?) videos), several submerged or semi-submerged passages are so narrow or twisty, accessible only to highly experienced cave divers (none of the trapped people, reportedly, knows how to swim or dive), a panic attack could be lethal. However, I’ve read conflicting reports on how heavily they were sedated.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 rjw1
    It may be that the coach is not a long time local. This is pure speculation on my part. but his aunt was quoted on CBC saying that he is from an ethnic minority and a “stateless” person. So he may not have grown up in the local area.

  5. rjw1 says

    @5 jrkrideau,

    The monsoon is a huge weather system that covers most of SE Asia to Northern Australia. It’s hard to believe that anyone living in the region wouldn’t understand the consequences of torrential rain and avoid caves, rivers and swamps. Wandering crocodiles taking advantage of the flooding are a particular danger in Northern Australia.

  6. Rumina robbed. says

    Either way sedated or not the rescurers knows better.let’s learn how to appreciate others efforts.divers risked their lives to safe the boys.good job. That’s my opinion

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