Since June 23, the story of 12 boys and their football coach, stranded in a deep cave complex in northern Thailand, has captured the world’s imagination. In the thick of all the ugly wars and anger, bigotry and divisiveness, this was a story of grit and determination — and human cooperation at an unprecedented scale. On Tuesday, rescue workers capped the extraordinary mission, successfully evacuating the remaining five members of the Wild Boars football team, to the collective joy and relief of people around the world.
Rescue commander Narongsak Osotanakorn, who declared the mission “accomplished”, perhaps put it best when he remarked that the joint efforts of global rescuers had “done what was thought to be impossible”. Trapped deep in the flooded cave complex, their oxygen supplies fast dwindling and fear of more torrential rains, the boys’ fate looked bleak.
Although the group’s natural instinct to survive kicked in, it was the collaboration that took place outside the Tham Luang Nang cave that warmed hearts and united the world. Shortly, rescue teams from around the globe including the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Canada and the United States descended on the site to assist the Thai Navy SEALS.
Death of Saman Kunan, former Thai Navy SEAL who lost his life in the risky operation, is a reminder that not all heroes wear capes. This was human spirit at its finest, an audacious undertaking that brought the best of humanity together. In that moment of relief and joy for Thailand, the entire world clutched their hand, offering not only comfort, but also a great lesson in the spirit of camaraderie.