In June 2018, twelve young boys and their soccer coach became trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave system in northern Thailand. The group had entered the cave complex on June 23, but soon became trapped by rising floodwaters caused by heavy monsoon rains.
For nine days, the boys and their coach were stranded in the cave, cut off from the outside world. International rescue teams, including divers from around the world, converged on the scene to try and find a way to rescue the boys.
The rescue operation was extremely difficult due to the complex and treacherous cave system, the narrow passages, and the fast-moving floodwaters. The team of divers had to navigate through the dark and narrow passages, some of which were completely submerged, to reach the boys.
The rescue mission was further complicated by the fact that many of the boys could not swim and had no diving experience. The rescue team had to teach the boys how to use scuba diving equipment and guide them through the underwater passages.
On July 2, after nine days of being trapped in the cave, the rescue team successfully located the boys and their coach. The divers provided them with food, water, and medical supplies and began the process of preparing them for the dangerous journey back to the surface.
The rescue operation was divided into three stages. The first stage involved bringing the boys from their location deep inside the cave to a small cavern known as Pattaya Beach, where the divers had set up a makeshift base camp.
The second stage involved navigating through a narrow, twisting passage known as the “T-Junction” and a treacherous stretch of flooded cave known as “Coffin Corner.” The boys had to be guided through these passages by the divers, who had to carefully navigate through the fast-moving floodwaters.
The third and final stage involved bringing the boys up to the surface, using a combination of walking, wading, and diving. The boys were carried on stretchers through some parts of the cave and had to wear full-face masks and oxygen tanks for the underwater sections.
The entire rescue operation took three days and involved more than 1000 people from around the world. The boys and their coach were finally rescued on July 10, and all of them were found to be in good health.
The rescue mission was hailed as a triumph of international cooperation and the bravery of the rescue team and the boys themselves. The Thai government awarded the rescuers with medals and the boys were invited to attend the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires as special guests of the International Olympic Committee.