According to this Independent article, 8 of 12 young Thai boys who had been trapped with their football coach inside a cave are now safe. The boys and their coach went exploring in the huge Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after football practice and were cut off when a rainstorm flooded the cave. A huge search operation was launched, taking 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep inside the cave complex.
Sophisticated Rescue Operation
After having found the boys, plans were devised for a very sophisticated rescue operation, which included attending to the boys’ immediate health concerns, attempting to pump water out of the cave, and placing air tanks at strategic points along the escape route, which was over a mile long and involved long stretches underwater through a series of narrow, waterlogged passageways where visibility is poor. It had taken the expert divers over 5 hours themselves to negotiate the treacherous route. How treacherous? A former Thai Navy Seal died on Friday trying to help place air tanks through the tunnels.
First Signs of Success
On Sunday, onlookers were overjoyed to see the first signs of success, as 4 of the boys were brought out of the cave safe and conscious between 5:40 and 7:50 pm, having survived the delicate rescue operation.
“The rescuers swam through the cave while holding the boys beneath their bodies,” said Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn of the perilous journey through narrow caves with jagged edges. The divers are believed to have had to detach their oxygen tanks in order to pass through some of the tightest stretches.
More good news came on Monday:
“We have helped four more children today,” said Narongsak, after the rescue operation was halted for the night. He said workers would resume efforts to retrive the remaining five people in about 20 hours’ time. “The health of the remaining five people inside the cave is still good,” Mr Narongsak added.
Bringing Humanity Together
The rescue operation, already being deemed ‘one of the greatest in history,’ will have all eyes and ears awaiting news that the remaining 4 boys and the coach have been rescued within a day or so. This eventuality is still in jeopardy and the timing of rescue efforts is still subject to rainfall and other conditions.
(Update: All 12 boys and their coach have now been rescued. RE)
It seems as though events like this always bring out our compassion, our love, our sense that we are all in this together. Which one of us would not want to be the ones to provide meaningful help, to be an important part of the rescue, to comfort the parents, to give the kids a hug and the reassurance that they are safe? Matters of life and death reminds us all about our mortality, about how we are essential to each other’s health and survival, about how we need to work together to get where we are going.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all made a conscious and intentional effort to retain this feeling and perception as long as we can, long after this rescue reaches a successful conclusion? While those around us may not be in a life or death situation, they are still in dire need of our love, our compassion, and our acceptance. If we can continue to take the feelings that arise in us during times of crisis, and recognize them as the feelings we want evoked more consistently in our daily interactions with others, that will take us a long way towards bringing about the collective shift we want to see in our world.