UPDATE JULY 10: All 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from the Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai, Thailand! We are giving thanks to God for the answered prayers!
Having been trapped in the cave due to flood waters since June 23rd, the remaining four boys and their coach were brought out by the brave rescue divers on Tuesday, July 10. After the 72-hour rescue operation, the entire Wild Boars soccer team and their coach have been taken to a hospital in Chang Rai to receive medical and psychological care.
Thank you for praying with us and the parents of one of the boys who is sponsored through Compassion. Throughout the dangerous rescue operation, his Compassion community at his local church has been united in prayer and assisting the Air Force by providing food and shelter. (Read below to hear from his parents and learn more about how their community has supported them and the rescue).
Let’s continue to pray for the team and their coach as they begin their recovery process.
UPDATE JULY 9: Praise to God! Four more boys have been brought out of the cave, including the boy* who is a sponsored through Compassion!
“Thank you to God who helps us to see our son very soon. We are so happy to hear that our son is out of the cave and to welcome him home. It’s the love that God gives to our family. God is great love and there’s nothing He can’t do,” his parents say.
Thank you for praying with us and his parents for his safe return!
All eight boys who have been rescued are receiving medical treatment in Chiang Rai. Families are not allowed to see the boys until they have been cleared medically.
Let’s continue to pray for the boys’ physical and mental recovery and for the remaining rescue efforts and safety for the five people left in the cave.
UPDATE JULY 8: Four of the boys have been rescued! Praise God!
Eight boys, including the boy sponsored through Compassion, still remain trapped in the cave. (See an interview with his parents below.)
Racing against the weather and potential increased flooding in the cave, rescuers began bringing the four boys out on Sunday, July 8. On Saturday evening, the boys were assessed by a medical professional and deemed both physically and mentally ready for the journey.
The rescue teams have pumped enough water out of the cave for the boys to make it out but the journey is still dangerous. It is an 11-hour round trip for the rescuers to go into the cave and come out with the boys. Using guide ropes in complete darkness, the process includes a mixture of walking, wading, climbing and diving.
Because it takes 20 hours to prepare for each round of rescues, it is expected to take 2-4 days to get the remaining six boys and their coach out. And with the current rainy conditions threatening to flood the cave, time is imperative.
Please continue to pray with us for the safety of the rescuers, the remaining brave boys and their coach as they journey out of the cave!
JULY 5: The world watched and prayed for 10 days while 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped in the recesses of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai District of Thailand. On Monday, July 2, we rejoiced as rescuers finally penetrated into the room of the cave where the boys are trapped and found them alive. Thank you to all who have answered the call to pray for these precious lives!
One of the boys* is a Compassion beneficiary, and our photojournalist in Thailand had a chance to interview his parents.
“Thank you so much for all prayers and all the encouragement. Thank you to God. I’m really thankful that they found my son and all 13 are alive,” says the boy’s mother. “I’m so happy and so thankful to see my son again. Thank you so much to everyone that has been praying for us and the boys and helping us; thank you.”
The Director at the child development center the boy attends, Nasou (pictured in the photo above), says, “As Center Director, I want to say thank you so much for all your prayers as we have heard that [the boy] is now safe inside the cave. I’m so thankful to God and know that they will come out very safely.”
The soccer coach and boys have received food, blankets and medical attention. With the possibility of more rain to come, rescuers are working around the clock to find solutions to get them all to safety.
Rescue crews have been removing water from the flooded cave, but they believe the boys’ best chance to escape is to learn to dive to journey through 2-3 kilometers of the mountain. But this will be a considerable process, potentially taking months.
Eighteen-year-old Surayut Puengpadung, another Compassion beneficiary and member of the Chiang Rai Rescue Academy Team, was one of the first to report the boys missing on Saturday and one of the first to enter the water to search for the boys.
“Pray for all the rescue operation teams who are making progress,” Surayut says. “They are working very hard through this weather, and it’s very dangerous. The water runs fast and there are strong currents.”
Compassion’s church partners in the Chiang Rai District have been constantly gathering to pray for the lives of these precious boys and their coach. Compassion Center at Baag Jong Church is also being used as a base for the search.
“Because the parents and I are seeing the rescue teams working hard, through the days and nights, that’s what is giving us hope. We have the strength to stay here at the cave site to see the boys. Many times the parents felt hopeless after they had been waiting and hearing that nothing had accomplished in searching for their boys. So, we didn’t know whether the boys were going to be alive or not. But we kept on praying constantly and really trusted God that they would be found alive. When we heard that they found the boys, that was the most exciting moment and giving us more hope,” says Nasou.
Let’s stand in solidarity, and continue praying for the boys, their coach, the families and the rescue team in the months to come.
- Pray that the boys and the coach will return to safety and their families soon.
- Pray the rescue crews are able to find the quickest and safest solution.
- Pray that the weather will remain stable so that there will be no more flooding in the cave.
- Pray that the boys and their coach will remain healthy and grow strong enough to make the dive through the cave.
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Field reporting by Piyamary Shinoda, Compassion Thailand