When 12 members of the junior Wild Boars soccer team decided to explore the Tham Luang karstic cave alongside their assistant coach on June 23, 2018, their plan was to stay for just an hour. However, as profiled on Netflix’s ‘Thai Cave Rescue,’ it turned into over 17 days because they’d found themselves trapped inside owing to such quick heavy rainfall that it’d flooded their exit way. So now, since we know all of them did make it out okay following an active recovery effort spanning three days (July 8-10, 2018), let’s learn the details of the order of their extrication, shall we?
The Order in Which The Wild Boars Were Rescued
There were reports suggesting medical lead/cave diver Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris helped decide which boy to rescue first back when the matter was still ongoing in 2018, yet that’s not the case. The thirteen people whose lives were actually at stake were given this opportunity to choose for themselves, especially as there was no crisis preference because they were all doing relatively good. “Everyone was strong and no one was sick,” assistant Coach Eak said during a press conference in late July. “Everybody had a strong mental state. Dr. Harris said… there’s no preference.”
The then 25-year-old Eakapol “Eak” Jantawong further indicated they had no idea their ordeal had garnered global attention despite the foreign divers and Royal Navy SEALs maintaining contact with them. After all, he told reporters, “We were thinking, when we get out of the cave, we would have to ride the bicycle home. So the persons who live the furthest away would be allowed to go out first… so that they can go out and tell everyone that we were inside, we were okay… We put the hopes on them to tell the families we are coming out and [to] prepare food.”
This recovery pattern is thus the one everybody did their best to adhere to, meaning the first four boys to be brought out of the flooded cave on July 8, 2018, did ostensibly live furthest away. The Thai officials were actually careful not to reveal any identities at the time for the youngsters as well as for their family’s own safety, considering the media frenzy. Yet the Netflix original clarifies they were, in order, 15-year-old Prachak “Note” Sutham, 14-year-old Nattawut “Tle” Takamrong, 15-year-old Phiphat “Nick” Phothi, and 13-year-old Panumart “Mix” Saengdee.
On July 9, another four followed suit, who seemed to be, in no particular order, 13-year-old Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, 14-year-old Ekkarat “Biw” Wongsukchan, 14-year-old Adul “Dul” Samon, and 17-year-old Phiraphat “Night” Somphiangchai. Then, despite his vehement protests, assistant Coach Eak was first to be rescued on July 10 — the ninth individual overall. “[Eak] wanted to be the last to leave, but it was not his call… and he was also sedated,” Irish cave diver/rescuer Jim Warny once revealed.
After the coach, again in no particular order, 13-year-old Somphong “Pong” Jaiwong, 16-year-old Phonchai “Tee” Khamluang, and 11-year-old Chanin “Titan” Viboonrungruang were apparently taken out. 13-year-old Mongkol “Mark” Boonpiem was thus the very last Wild Boar to be recovered, and it was primarily due to a technical issue — a positive pressure full face mask in his size could not be found, making things dangerous. But thankfully, every single team member and expert diver made it out alive. There were only two casualties in this entire ordeal; retired Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan and then-active SEAL Beirut Pakbara.
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