It was back in 2018 when 12 members of the junior association soccer team Wild Boars and their assistant coach, unfortunately, got trapped inside Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non Park caves. They were in this flooded karstic system without any resources for over two weeks, as profiled in Amazon Prime’s ‘Thirteen Lives,’ yet combined efforts did ultimately lead to their safe rescue. So now that it’s been a while since this incredibly intense matter came to a close for good, let’s find out more about the young boys, their experiences, as well as their current standing, shall we?
What Happened to The Wild Boars Boys?
When most of the Wild Boars team decided to explore the Tham Luang caves following a routine practice on Saturday, June 23, 2018, they could’ve never anticipated the tangle they’d sink into. That’s because they went into “Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady” under relatively okay weather conditions, only for incessant heavy rainfall to quickly rush through the porous mountain limestone. Thankfully, their then-25-year-old coach Eakapol “Eak” Jantawong was in company, and he managed to guide the boys to an elevated rock 2½ miles from the cave’s opening to flee the rising water.
These boys were between the ages of 11 and 16, with the youngest being a soccer — football in Thailand — enthusiast since the tender age of seven, Chanin “Titan” Viboonrungruang. Then there were 13-year-olds Panumart “Mix” Saengdee, Duangphet “Dom” Phomthep (team captain), Somphong “Pong” Jaiwong, and Mongkol “Mark” Boonpiem (stateless, like their assistant coach). Nattawut “Tle” Takamrong, Ekkarat “Biw” Wongsukchan, and Adul (not Adun) “Dul” Samon, all 14, were also part of this group, with the latter being the only English speaker amongst the 13.
Although stateless, Adul was hence the one to speak to the divers when they were first discovered nine days after the fact. Apart from them, there were even 15-year-old Prachak “Note” Sutham, 15-year-old Phiphat “Nick” Phothi, 16-year-old Phonchai “Tee” Khamluang (stateless), and 16/17-year-old Phiraphat “Night” Somphiangchai. The latter actually celebrated his 17th birthday inside the cave, and we should mention that all the Wild Boar Boys have credited their assistant coach with keeping them as okay as possible. Things did seem hopeless to them at one point, yet they kept up their strength to fight for not just themselves but also one another.
Where Are The Wild Boar Boys Now?
Upon being rescued, treated, and reunited with their families after the last day of the mission — July 10, 2018 — every single one of the youngsters did their best to return to their ordinary lives. However, the one undeniably positive result of this extreme incident is the fact the government granted legal Thai citizenship to the coach and the three then-stateless boys on September 26, 2018. Coming to their current whereabouts, admittedly determined to prove they were worth every bit of effort, we’re happy to report that it seems like most of the Wild Boar Boys are still devoted to football/soccer as well as their education, weather in Northern Thailand or abroad.
While Titan is still in school and committed to making it big as a pro footballer, it appears as if Mix, Dom, Pong, and Mark are also continuing their education. Pong, in particular, is enrolled at Chiang Mai Technical College, whereas Mark is an aspiring chicken farmer. We honestly couldn’t find much on Tle at the moment, but we do know Tee, Biw, and Adul are still dedicated players as well. The latter is even attending The Master’s School in New York (class of 2023) and has completed a summer program at Cornell University to expand his academic opportunities.
As for Note and Nick, the former is currently leading a good life alongside his girlfriend Suphawadee Saetang in Chiang Rai, and the latter, a rescue center worker, is engaged to be married. Unfortunately, while we couldn’t find any concrete information on Night either, we do know several of the boys have since returned to the depths of Tham Luang to get over their past as well as any lingering fear.
Read More: Where is Wild Boars Coach Eakapol “Eak” Jantawong Now?