The rescue in Thailand

Rescue workers are seen near Tham Luang cave complex. Photo: Reuters
Rescue workers are seen near Tham Luang cave complex. Photo: Reuters
In a scene which could have come from a Hollywood script, soldiers, medics and rescue workers waited for some good news from divers deep inside caves below Nang Non Mountain.

Hours later, 12 Thai schoolboys aged between 11 and 16 and their football coach were found alive by divers in the nearby cave known as Tham Luang Nang Non, which flooded while they were exploring it on June 23.

Haunting images of their bicycles propped up against the fence at the entrance to the caving system have played around the world as rescue workers from all parts of the globe arrived to help in the search.

Hope for their safety was always high, but deep down in the caves, as the water levels rose, the fate of the boys and their coach remained unknown for 10 days.

Rescuers are now considering how best to bring the boys to safety. Concern is rising because monsoon rains are predicted to lift the water levels in the cave, despite the non-stop pumping of water undertaken by the rescue teams.

More heavy rain will mean water levels rising and threatening the air pocket where the group has taken refuge.

The boys have been fed easy-to-digest, high-energy food with vitamins and minerals, under supervision of a doctor.

The remarkable story continues because of the amount of fresh water and air supply available to the trapped team and coach. Although emaciated, the water kept them hydrated.

It remains unclear just how the boys will be rescued. They cannot swim. Earlier, the Thai military said the boys will need to learn to dive - or wait up to four months for flooding to recede before they can get out of the caves, meaning food will need to be supplied for that time.

Now, the threat of the monsoon has meant a rethink of the plans, but it remains unclear just how the boys will be brought out.

The parents must feel the ultimate relief, as most parents do when a child is in danger. The parents talk about their unswerving belief in their sons being alive, and the power of prayer, during their vigil outside of the caves.

The boys apparently remain in good heart, something astounding even the most optimistic of rescuers. Their powers of belief will be tested in coming days as efforts for their rescue accelerate.

This was not the first time the team has been into the caves, and their coach is known to have taken them on other occasional excursions and field trips. At age 25, the coach will come under intense scrutiny by football officials, various agencies, politicians and, of course, the media. His decision nearly cost the lives of his players.

Part of the rescue team includes personnel equipped to provide psychological treatment to the children who have spent their time in the pitch-black environment.

The team is tasked with working through the options to help the children through the rescue and in facing life outside the caves but in the full glare of the international community.

For a time, their parents will suffer anxiety whenever their sons are out of sight. The boys will need to become used to the intense interest in their plight.

The psychological effects of their stranding, and rescue, will live with these boys for a long time. They should not be ashamed to be scared, or cry. Adults trapped in similar circumstances have shed tears.

And, as mentioned earlier, a Hollywood offer will be coming, along with offers of cash and a request to make the movie more dramatic, if possible, than real life. Pay-for-interviews will tempt some parents, particularly if they come from poorer backgrounds.

The Thai Government has said it will do its best not only to rescue, but also protect, the boys. Shielding the boys as best it can from the trauma-associated living after such an event, will be the best decision for the Government to make.


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