I Was Trapped In A Cave For 18 Days With Water Rising

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It’s been days, trapped in the darkness, deep beneath a mountain. The rain falls in torrents outside, which unbeknownst to you could mean the end sooner than you think. Your friends are quiet and all you can hear now is the dripping of water on the cave walls. You are exhausted, hungry, clumped together with your buddies on a shelf in the cave where the flood water hasn’t yet reached but you’re aware it could rise at any time and the thought of that horrifies you. What you don’t know is that the world’s media and the public is hoping and praying that you get out alive, praying that you are actually still alive. You huddle against your buddy to keep warm. You keep still to preserve energy. You pray for rescuers, voices from the dark abyss, but as time passes you start to lose hope. This is the story of the Thai boys trapped in a cave, one of the most heartening and fascinating tales that people all over the world followed from start to finish. It’s a story of heroism, courage, and global collaboration; already a rescue epic in the annals of true survival stories. Those boys were trapped for 18 days, and you might wonder, just how did they survive and how did they get out? We’ll start from the beginning. It was June 23, 2018, the birthday of one of the boys. He just turned 17 years old. At home a SpongeBob birthday cake waits for him, but he won’t ever see that cake. He is one of the older boys on a soccer team called the Wild Boars. The rest of the team were aged eleven to sixteen. There were 12 boys in total and their coach, a 25-year old named ‘Ake’. The team had been practicing that day in their village in the Chiang Rai province of Northern Thailand. This is a beautiful part of the world, with endless paddy fields, jungle-covered mountains, but also incredibly dangerous caves. It’s rainy season in northern Thailand and when it rains, it really does pour. Within minutes streets can be flooded, rice paddies drown in water, and those living in the area are well aware of the dangers of such downpours. But the boys in their excitement after practice wanted adventure, and that led them to take their bicycles through the rice paddies and up towards the mountain. Up there was one of their favorite spots, the Tham Luang cave complex. They liked nothing more than to enter its depths and explore, but this was no day for exploration. Usually during the wet season the cave is a no-go area, due to the fact a heavy rains can fill the cave with water. The boys didn’t care, or didn’t know, and they parked their bikes and went inside. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t done this before. In the past they’d walked as far as 8 km into the darkness, only with cheap flashlights, and for them it was a kind of dare, an initiation. This day was no different, and like before, they didn’t only leave their bicycles but also their backpacks. The birthday boy’s parents meanwhile waited at home, and it got darker and darker…something was wrong. Little did the parents know that the team had ventured far into this massive cave, the fourth biggest cave complex in the country. If you translate its full Thai name to English it reads, “the great cave and water source of the sleeping lady mountain.” That sleeping lady was known to have eaten people in the past, explorers who had entered and never come out. An expatriate guide working in Thailand later told the BBC that the cave was muddy and the water moved through it fast. On days of heavy rain even the most experienced cavers wouldn’t go near it. And so we have a bunch of kids who have walked far into the cave and outside an almighty storm has broken. When darkness fell, and the rains came harder, the parents talked about how some of the boys had discussed going into the cave. Now there was panic, and that panic turned to intense fear when the parents went to the cave entrance and saw their children’s bikes and bags. Inside the cave the boys now knew they were in trouble. Not only was rain falling outside but it had been falling for days on end. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by rising water, a flash flood it seemed had occurred right around them. Their coach said go, scramble, get out of here or we are going to drown. They couldn’t turn back, and so moved farther into the darkness. The trail they had used was now a river, a place of no return. They passed a place that usually stayed dry nicknamed Pattaya Beach, but even that flooded. It was their favorite spot, too. Eventually they managed to find a shelf where they could sit. Maybe they thought the water would recede, but it didn’t, and they would sit there without food for 18 days. They had flashlights, but were told to only use them now and again. This was no time to be afraid of the dark. Ake, the coach, did make one attempt to swim through the water, but he soon swam back. It was stay or die. They used rocks to make the shelf higher, so as to stay away from the water. In the pitch black the coach told the worried boys that the only thing to do now was stay calm. He had been a monk in the past and he told the boys one way to get through this was to think of nothing, empty the mind, meditate. And that’s what they did. They were also quite lucky, because even though the body can go long periods of time without food, water is necessary. They didn’t have to resort to drinking the muddy water from the floor because natural, clean water dripped down the cave walls. They had enough air because of the porous limestone rocks and the cracks, although they didn’t know that the oxygen level would get lower and lower. They could survive, but for how long? Ake later told the media, “I tried not to tell the boys that we got stuck in the cave. I only told them something positive.” And that was it, they sat there and prayed and mediated and stayed calm, if not hungry as hell. Outside of the cave a rescue operation involving people from all over the world was happening. Within days there was hardly a news channel that wasn’t following this operation. Thai police, government agencies and Thai Navy Seals were there, and unfortunately one of those navy seals would later die in the water. One problem is the complex was so massive, and the boys could have been anywhere in that cave. Luckily one boy who didn’t go that day told parents and rescue teams that they liked to go to a place called Pattaya Beach. That was some help. Divers from various countries turned up, including from the UK, the USA, Australia and China, all working with the Thai divers. Many more experts from all over the world were also involved. It was one of the British divers that made first contact, and it was videoed, a scene that brought tears to the eyes of many people. Later one of those divers told the BBC, “Wherever there is air space we surface, we shout, we smell. We smelt the children before we saw or heard them.” And then they started to communicate with the kids. The Brit asked, “How many of you.” The boys shouted back, “13”, to which he replied, “Brilliant.” They were all alive. “Many people are coming,” said the diver, “We are the first.” Hilariously one of the boys then shouted, “What day is it?” They didn’t quite know the day, but told the boys they had been in the cave for 10 days. What did they know, they were in the dark with no idea how much time had passed. “You are very strong,” shouted the diver. It was amazing to see, those small kids all hanging together on that life-saving shelf. The divers then swam over to them, using a line, and when they arrived one of the kids said, “We are very happy,” almost as if he learned the line in school. The diver replied, “We are happy, too.” And when the world heard about this it felt as if we had been blessed by good news at last. The Thais smiled that day, celebrated, after days of saying “soo soo” which translates to “fight fight.” The boys had fought, and they had won, well, almost. They even had the opportunity to write on paper to their parents, with most boys saying they loved their mom and pop and not to worry, they were just fine. The parents wrote back saying they loved them. They had a special message for Ake, who had written to the parents saying how sorry he was that he had taken their kids into the cave. The parents wrote, “The mums and dads, none of them are angry at you….you went inside with them and you must come out with them, too.” But quickly a new problem emerged, and it seemed that the boys were not out of trouble yet, not by a long way in fact. You see, they were found on day 10, and as you know, they didn’t get out for quite a few days after that. Those cavers that found them belonged to the British Cave Rescue Council and were joined by expert French and Belgium cavers. These are some of the best cavers in the world. They had literally risked their lives to find the boys, and as you know, a Thai Navy Seal would lose his life. It was a perilous cave system and it could take more lives, so how on Earth were a bunch of kids with no equipment supposed to get back to land? It was around 4km of extremely dangerous diving, and outside the rain kept falling. It was by no means a certainty that the boys would make it, and again the public prayed. About this time the search had to be stalled, it was just too dangerous as the rains were too strong. Again, people all across Thailand joined in prayer and in their heads said those words, “soo soo.” But now the outcome wasn’t looking good. The boys wanted one thing only, besides being rescued. They wanted food. What did they want? They asked for “Pad krapow”, which is rice with fried meat, chilies and basil leaves. Unfortunately all they got was a liquid diet full of vitamins because the doctors said that’s what they needed, not a spicy dish with lots of oil. At least one of the boys got to celebrate his birthday with some hope. One of the mothers of the boys said to the press, “The Navy Seal had practiced for so long, and was so strong, but also died. How about a boy who has never dived before?” She was absolutely right. Tech wizard Elon Musk even offered to help, saying his engineers from SpaceX and the Boring company would create a pod to bring the boys out, but a pod just wouldn’t work in such tight conditions. The rescue was stalled for the moment, but then the bad news came. More heavy rain was coming, and if the boys were not taken out soon they would be flooded and die in the cave. It was then that it was agreed that five Thai navy Seals and eighteen foreign divers would lead the effort. It was said the weakest boy should come out first, but Ake said everyone was fine, no one was really weak. As it happened, the boys that volunteered first would go first. Ake actually said the boys that lived farthest away could go first, as they had the longest distance to cycle home. He really had no idea that the world was watching them, that thousands of people were outside that cave. The British divers who found the boys led the operation, with many other divers following and many Thai divers waiting at checkpoints to get the guys through. As the boys could not panic, it was decided they should be given anesthesia, so a doctor went along, too. To get them out first they had to be dressed in a wet suit, then a full face mask for oxygen was put over their head. They also wore a buoyancy jacket. After the anesthetic they were rendered unconscious, and now it was about pulling them out. The problem was, or one of the many problems, was that the boy would only stay unconscious for 45 minutes, so the divers had to be trained by the doctor in how to give them anesthetic. The journey back took hours and was fraught with danger. At tight points the boys had to be pushed hard through the cracks, but all the time the divers had to be very careful not to let anything push off their mask. The divers also held their heads high, so if anything did hit a rock it would hit them first. We don’t have to tell you that visibility was very bad. When they hit a dry section they had to be dragged on a stretcher, their masks removed, and then attached again when it was back to another flooded section. Pulleys and chain systems were used to get them over sand, and they had to be carefully carried over rocks. It was a daisy chain operation involving hundreds of people. On July 10, the last four boys were carried out to great applause outside the cave. It was reported that while some kids had incurred minor scrapes, amazingly they were all in good condition. The average weight loss was 4.4 pounds (2kg), which isn’t so much for 18 days with nothing but water. They had to be quarantined because it was thought they could have contracted dangerous infections, but they were fine. It was a bit sad, though, to see photos of their parents waving at them through glass walls. No hugging just yet. For a while the boys also had to wear sunglasses as so much time in the dark made their eyes very sensitive to light. People tried to blame the coach, for going into the cave during the rains. One British diver soon responded to that, saying, “Nobody’s to blame, not the coach, not the boys. They were just very unlucky ... It wasn’t just the rain that day, the mountain is like a sponge and waters from earlier rain were raising the levels.” The coach himself after the rescue said, “I would like to express my gratitude for people from the whole world, officials, and volunteers that came to help us. We promise that we will be good citizens to society.” One of the boys that was rescued was called Titan, and he said this, “I was very happy to see my dad and my mom. I feel warmer. I was very happy. I cried.” We think quite a few tears were shed around the world when those boys were home safe and sound. Since then the Wild Boars have toured the world and have done talk shows here and there. Many people won awards for their efforts during the rescue, and, well, it’s just a feel good story all around. A movie will soon be out about this called “The Cave.” How would you have dealt with 18 days in the cave? Tell us in the comments. And for more crazy real life stories, be sure to check out our other video Crazy Story Of Woman Who Survives Live Grenade Lodged in Her Face. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.
Channel: The Infographics Show
Views: 1,389,486
Rating: 4.8849068 out of 5
Keywords: true story, true, really happened, Thailand, Thailand cave rescue, rescue, survive, survival, trapped, cave rescue, cave, thai, boys, thai cave, thai cave rescue, divers, operation, coach, thailand cave, thai soccer team, soccer, education, educational
Id: vMMV0Beb9uM
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Length: 12min 11sec (731 seconds)
Published: Fri Jul 26 2019
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