It is one of the most impressive items of news to me that 12 boys and their soccer coach in Thailand have safely been rescued. According to news reports, on June 23, they ventured to explore a cave in Chiang Rai, a city in northern Thailand, and went missing due to the flooding caused by heavy rains and mazy passages inside the cave. On July 2, they were found to be alive by some divers. This news surprised the world and excited people with joy, in contrast with the earlier news which informed us that the situation seemed hopeless.
The concerned people really faced the difficulties in rescuing them, and struggled to determine the best rescuing method. All 13 members of the Thai soccer team were staying on a small rock located in the farthest place, about 6 miles from the entrance of the cave. There seemed to be some narrow mazy passages from this place to the entrance of the cave, and most parts of the passages were under water. Therefore, it was extremely dangerous for them to get to the entrance of the cave. However, since the rainfall was forecasted to grow more intense and the risk of the rise in water level accelerated, the rescue operation started on July 8, 2018, and continued for three days until July 10.
To ensure their safety, divers taught them how to dive and swim in advance. Before diving, each boy was given anti-anxiety medicine to ease his nerves. Two divers helped to guide a boy to the entrance. Each boy wore a full face mask linked to an oxygen tank which one of the divers was carrying with him.
The remained four boys and their coach were finally rescued on the evening of July 10, and the three-day rescue operation ended in great success. The main reasons for this great success were, among other things, said to be as follows: the Thai authorities were determined to rescue the 12 boys and the coach; and divers of both the Thai Navy SEAL and an international volunteer group consisting of divers of long experiences closely cooperated with each other; and the 12 boys and their reliable coach were mentally and physically strong and brave.
They were stranded in the flooded cave for 18 days. How did they endure hunger and thirst as well as physical and mental pains in the dark and tightly-shut space? They were surely patient. Their belief in Buddhism helped them to be mentally strong. Especially, the boys’ coach must have been a reliable person. He encouraged the boys not to give up until they find out the way to get out of the cave.
This coach’s encouragement to the boys resulted in the latest news on the miraculous rescue. The 12 boys gave boys and girls all over the world a bright hope and the courage to live.
I would like to express my deep respect to all the people of Thailand for their strength as a nation and their spirit of brotherhood. Lastly, I would like to pray for the soul of the former officer of the Thai Navy SEAL who died because of a lack of oxygen during the rescue operation. We should not forget that the 13 members were saved at the cost of this former officer’s life.