About a month ago, Amazon Prime premiered a new film called Thirteen Lives, a screenplay inspired by the true story of the Tham Luang cave rescue.

It's a fantastic movie, but what's fascinating is the details of the real rescue.

Trapped

On June 23rd, 2018, junior association football team the Wild Boars went to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in the Doi Nang Non mountains, when a monsoon struck, flooding the cave.

The twelve boys, aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old assistant coach, Ekkaphon Chanthawong went missing after heading into the cave. According to initial news reports, the group had planned to have a birthday party in the cave after their football practice, and the group had spent a significant amount of money on food, but the reports were denied in a news conference after their rescue.

Thailand Cave Rescue For Missing Soccer Team
Getty Images
loading...

Sudden and continuous rainfall after they had entered the cave caused flooding, so rapid that the group had to leave behind some of their food supplies while running to safety.

Around 7pm, the team's head coach realized that he had dozens of missed calls from parents concerned that their children weren't home yet. After trying to call assistant coach Ekkaphon Chanthawong and some of the players, he had no luck in making contact. That is, until he reached 13-year-old Songpon Kanthawong, who was picked up after practice before the assistant coach and boys went to the caves.

The coach immediately raced to the caves, where he found abandoned bicycles and bags near the cave's entrance, with water rushing in the muddy pathway. He called authorities to report them missing right then.

Rescue

Luckily for the boys, a British caver who lived in the area, Vern Unsworth, who had great knowledge of the cave system, received a call on June 24th about the missing boys the next day. He told the Thai government they needed to reach out to the British Cave Rescue Council.

On June 25th, Thai Navy SEALs arrived at the cave to begin their search for where the boys might be. One SEAL said the water was so murky, that lights weren't even helpful with seeing where they were at. Continuous rains would periodically further flood the entrance, the search kept getting interrupted.

The world became obsessed with finding these boys, and help from as far as the United States Air Force team from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, the 31st Rescue Squadron, and the 353rd Special Operations Group arrived to the cave system to bring them home.

Thailand Cave Rescue For Missing Soccer Team
Getty Images
loading...

June 29th saw the arrival of the Australian Specialist Response Group divers, as well as a team of Chinese divers from the Beijing Peaceland Foundation.

Multiple dives per day, as long as the weather was permitting, to locate the boys were unsuccessful. When the rain would fall, divers would have to battle rushing currents and even more decreased visibility.

Found

CNA via YouTube
CNA via YouTube
loading...

On July 2nd, the twelve boys and coach were located at 10pm, by British Cave Rescue Council divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, on a rock shelf.

Thailand Cave Rescue For Missing Soccer Team
Getty Images
loading...

Volanthen was swimming through the cave leaving markers to help other divers when he decided to surface. Before he even saw the boys, he said that he could smell them.

Video was quickly shared to the world, showing the first contact made with the boys.

Extraction

On July 3rd, the group of trapped kids, were joined by three Thai NAVY SEALs who supported them until they were able to be extracted.

Thai officials told reporters that the rescuers were doing regular health checks on the boys, treating those that needed it, and were even keeping the boys entertained. None of the boys were in serious condition.

Thailand Cave Rescue For Missing Soccer Team
Getty Images
loading...

The challenge was that the boys were stranded 1.6 miles into the cave, and 3,300 feet below the top of the mountain. Drilling wasn't going to be much of an option.

A diving team made up of nearly 90 divers came together to get the boys out. After analyzing all of their options, they decided the only way out was for them to swim.

The boys were dressed in full wetsuits, a buoyancy jacket, harness, and positive pressure full face mask. Oxygen tanks and a handle to tether them to a diver were also used.

Because of the incoming stress and to keep the boys and divers safe, divers administered anesthetic ketamine and Xanax to the boys to render them unconscious and prevent choking.

The way out was a three-hour journey, but the anesthetic only lasted 45 minutes to an hour. Along the way, supportive divers waited to refill their tanks and readminister anesthetic.

Thailand Cave Rescue For Trapped Soccer Team
Getty Images
loading...

After being delivered to the stage base towards the front of the cave, a daisy chain of rescuers was used to pass the boys along the way to the outside of the entrance.

Three Thai Navy SEALs and the Army doctor who had stayed with the boys were the last ones to dive out things were going smoothly, until the water pumps in use suddenly shut off.

"All of a sudden a water pipe burst and the main pump stopped working", a diver stated. "We really had to run from the third chamber to the entrance because the water level was rising very quickly—like 50 cm every 10 minutes."

The quickly rising waters forced the 100 rescuers still in the cave to evacuate, abandoning rescue equipment throughout the van.

Safe and Sound

The boys and assistant coach were all taken to a local hospital to recover from the ordeal. Each boy reportedly lost about 4.4lbs, but officials said they were in "good condition."

Sunglasses were used to help their eyes readjust to the light without damage, and throughout their stay, the health ministry regularly tested them for infections and monitored their physical nad mental health. All boys recovered fully.

Get our free mobile app

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

More From 97X