Mother’s Rejoice After Heroic Rescue Of Trapped Thai Soccer Team

As parents, we try not to worry as our kids go on field trips, sports tournaments, and friend’s houses without our careful watch.

The reality that something may happen to your kids with or without you present can be all consuming at times, but we learn life must go on.

In Thailand, parents’ nightmares came true as an entire soccer team, their coach, and a peer became trapped in the darkest of places.

On June 23, Thai soccer players ranging in ages 11-16 were led into the complex underground caves by their coach Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, 25, a former Buddhist monk.

The Wild Boars and their coach became stuck as the tunnels began to flood behind them, forcing them deeper within the abyss.

After the children didn’t make it home after soccer practice, parents called the center where the team meets, beginning a missing persons search.

Senior members of the soccer center went out to look for the team in the surrounding area, finding where the Wild Boars entered the cave.

Coach Ake, as he was endearingly called, is beloved by all the parents of the team members, and not blamed for the unfortunate situation.

Australian Broadcasting System reported:

Many parents made it clear they are not angry at their sons for going into the cave. Nor do they blame the boys’ coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, 25, for putting their children in danger.

Please don’t blame yourself for this,” they wrote to him.

“We want you to rest assured that no parent is upset or angry at you. Everybody supports you.

“Thank you very much for taking care of our children. You went into the cave with our children and you must get out with them. Take our children and yourself out with safety. We are waiting in front of the cave.””

Monsoon rains were expected in the coming days after the boys were trapped, making a quick rescue not only desired but necessary for survival, according to the New York Post.

Heartfelt letters were exchanged between the kids and the anxious mothers waiting outside to hold their boys again.

The children told their parents how they “miss them and wanted to go home”, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

One mom tried to keep her son hopeful and positive by writing, “Dear Knight (Peerapat Som-Piengjai), Dad and mom is waiting to arrange for your birthday party. Please get out soon, and stay healthy.”

Another mother writes, “I wait for you in front of the cave. You must make it! I believe in you. You can make it. I’m giving you moral support all the time. Love you so much. Your dad also misses you and loves so much”, as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Since the rescue couldn’t be made the same way the children went into the mouth of the cave because of flooding, Navy SEALs were called to pull off the impossible.

It took some time for a daring rescue team to be assembled, an effective plan to be made, and things to be in place to pull it off, but in the final days it all paid off.

Completing the heroic rescue of all who were trapped inside the dark cave took 3 days to complete.

It was a grueling process to pull each child to safety, with an elite diver escorting those trapped one-by-one through a 4 kilometer narrow passageway under water.

The first day of rescue, four boys were pulled from the cave’s underground waterways, and the second day another four. Leaving the remainder of the team, the coach, and those who volunteered to watch over everybody from inside the cave, to be rescued the third day of diving.

It is not short of heroism how a Thai navy doctor and three SEALs went through the tunnels to stay with the scared team, offering medical attention, food, water, and support.

Each child’s journey for their first diving excursion was hours long. This led to the decision to give the kids anti-anxiety medications prior to their departure.

It’s called anxiolytic, something to make them not excited, not stressed,” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters, according to the New York Post.

Sadly, one rescue team member didn’t make it out of the tunnels alive. A former Thai Royal Navy SEAL who was placing tanks along the exit route for the divers ran out of air, highlighting the intensity of the operation.

After 18 agonizing days, where mothers waited outside the rescue entrance helplessly, all the boys, and Coach Ake, made it to safety.

When all who were in the cave came out safely, rescuers, parents and bystanders “sang and danced”, according to the New York Post.

It is amazing how professionals of various trades, and emergency personnel, worked together to pull off an operation that seemed by all surface standards to have a despairing end.

Those trapped in the dark for weeks still have some trials ahead of them as they are quarantined on a medical ward while being screened for infections.

Parents are only allowed to be behind a designated area where their children are with “sterilized clothing and standing at a distance”, reported the New York Post, but it must still be comforting to be by their side.

As soon as the tests are cleared, all the boys will return home with their families. It is unclear if any additional reprimand is going to be sought out for the coach, but it seems unlikely with his community support.

While it may be awhile before the team gets back into playing soccer matches, it will more than likely be even longer yet until the next spelunking adventure.

Please let us know in the comments section how you feel about the amazing rescue mission the heroic Navy SEALs pulled off.

 

 

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