The world is glued to social media, live minute by minute reports and wall to wall coverage about the disappearance, discovery and then the dilemma of the rescue of 12 young boys and their coach in the Northern Thailand region of Chiang Rai. Add to that the very real problem of flooding of the cave complex as a result of the impending torrential monsoon rains, the rapidly dropping oxygen levels in the cave complex and the lack of time – this has captured people’s attention like no other in recent times.

thailand cave boys

Photo courtesy of Sky News

The story as we speak, is unfolding with the eleventh boy rescued from the cave complex with still one more boy, their 25-year-old coach, a team of 5 divers including the doctor and the nurse remain to be extracted from the caves.

As most riveting stories, this Tham Luang Nang Non park (Mae Sai, Chiang Rai district) story started slowly with the news that 12 young boys and their coach have been lost in a vast cave complex in the mountains above the Mae Sai village in northern Thailand – the Bad News.

The fact that it was 12 young boys (ages of 11 to 16) and their young coach (25-year-old), made the connection with the public even more real and human. They were young boys, men, sons, nephews, students, friends – any number of relationships that we used to empathise with the victims and their families.

The discovery of the boys in the cave complex generated some euphoria which was tempered by the realisation that this was a very difficult and complicated task riddled with risky options for mission commanders and rescuers. The sad passing of the ex-Thai Navy Seal diver added more drama and anxiety.

Throughout the story unfolded with equal measure hope, concern, anxiety and confusion. In Bangkok, the publishing and broadcasting hub, scheduled programmes were interrupted at regular intervals to update the public on the rescue mission – decisions being debated, options being reviewed and international help pouring. Thais were and still are riveted. But this drama has captured the imagination of the world.

Photo courtesy of Sky News

The last three days we have been lapping up some good news. First with the successful rescue of four boys on Sunday, and then another four boys on Monday and at the time of writing two boys today. This story has had all the hallmarks for a classic story that has captured the world’s imagination.

From the bad news through the human connection through to a tragic incident through to a, hopefully, complete happy resolution with the rescue of all 13 people. This has been embellished with news outlets looking for profiles of the boys, the orphan-monk turned assistant soccer coach through to the cool collected resolve of the mission leader and unending hope from the boys’ families – this has been a classic crisis unfolding before our very eyes.

The benefit of technology has enabled the world to participate in the reality drama in real time. The management of the information and regular updates from the mission team and the protection afforded to the boys and the families has made this event almost wholesome (hygienic) – all the more palatable for the viewers/readers. Everybody has conducted themselves appropriately and in fact, Thailand has enhanced its brand through a collective coming together of human spirit and fellowship.

I would like to call out all the kind and generous people who came forward without hesitation for their bravery fellowship and care. We hope the boys and the coach recover to tell the tale with good humour.

*Featured photo used is from Telegraph


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