Is Kelly Suwannarat Based on a Real Hydraulic Engineer? Where Are She Now?

As a six-part limited series exploring the way 12 young soccer players and their assistant coach were extricated after 18 days in a flooded cavern, Netflix’s ‘Thai Cave Rescue’ is simply riveting. That’s because it carefully charts this harrowing, real-life 2018 incident through not just the boys’ (previously untold) perspectives but also every surrounding internal as well as external aspect. Thus, of course, the fact Hydraulic Engineer Kelly Suwannarat plays a significant role in the drama is no surprise — yet now, if you wish to learn more about her reality, we’ve got you covered.

Is Kelly Suwannarat Based on a Real Person?

While Kelly is not based on a particular individual, she is inspired by every single water engineer that had voluntarily made their way to the Tham Luang caves to help in this treacherous rescue. They were actually the reason the SEALs and the expert divers were eventually able to build a rather stable line of contact with the soccer team, so representing them was not even a question. The only distinct element is hence the fact this original deliberately incorporates more female elements through the fictional character of Kelly to ensure their aid/capabilities aren’t forgotten.

The truth is the entire narrative of this rescue operation has largely always been male-dominated, driving those behind this production to merely balance things out without losing its essence. In fact, a few parts of Kelly’s background as well as her hard work undeniably match Thanet Natisri’s — an American resident working in Thailand by chance when he knew he had to volunteer. Whether it be using sandbags to stop the excessive flow of water into the cave or sadly flooding the nearby farms to manage the water levels, team leader Thanet did it all, just like Kelly in the show.

“I think the most impressive thing about Kelly’s character is her commitment,” the actress proudly playing her, Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund (‘Fast And Feel Love’), recently said. “Some people would look down on her because of her age or would question her qualifications. Her heart is filled with determination. She doesn’t care what others think of her. She just wants to help and make things happen, and it’s really impressive. One thing I share with her is how Kelly has to face situations where others feel like she doesn’t quite fit in — and there are questions about whether she’s Thai or a foreigner.”

Where is Thanet Natisri Now?

Since Thanet Natisri’s story is again reportedly quite similar, we feel it’s imperative to mention he continues to be dedicated to his profession to this day, which means he’s still a hydraulic engineer. As if that’s not enough, he serves as an entrepreneur in his base of Marion, Illinois, as well — he owns and operates the renowned Thai D Classic Thai Cuisine restaurant alongside his loving wife Yara. We should further mention the travel enthusiast was actually an executive producer for National Geographic’s 2021 documentary on this same Tham Luang cave case, simply entitled ‘The Rescue.’

Read More: Where is Cave Diver Craig Challen Now?