Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know about the Tham Luang cave rescue by now. On June 23, 2018, 12 boys, members of a junior football (soccer) team were trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand after their coach Ekapol Chantawong led them in to explore it. All 12 of the boys and their coach were rescued, but it came at the expense of rescue worker Saman Kunan's life.
There are a few lessons to be learned from this: never take anything or anyone for granted, and do not engage in overly reckless behavior like exploring a cave with fluctuating water levels.
This football team was reportedly looking to celebrate the 17th birthday of one of the players and they decided to spelunk this cave. Shortly after they entered it, a squall came on. A downpour of heavy rain partially flooded the cave and trapped the boys and Chantawong inside it. They were forced to venture deeper into the cave to avoid rising water levels.
The authorities reported the team and their coach missing after a ranger of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation discovered their gear at the entrance to the cave. Thai Navy SEALs were summoned to the cave to begin a rescue attempt. They were joined by cave diving experts and members of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. They executed the rescue with extreme difficulty due to continuous rain further flooding the cave.
On July 2 at 22:00, the rescue workers discovered all 13 victims alive deep inside the cave. They cleared the area quickly due to the high probability of monsoon rains flooding the cave throughout October. Over the course of several days, a group of divers escorted each of the boys out of the cave, providing them with face masks and using a rope line.
On July 10, all of the boys were rescued along with Chantawong. The remaining rescue workers had difficulty escaping due to the water levels rising after they had previously dropped, but they managed to make it out.
Unfortunately, one rescue worker, 38-year-old Saman Kunan, died of asphyxiation trying to bring the boys supplies on July 6. He ran out of air underwater while swimming through a narrow passageway. His diving partner brought him to the surface, but he was dead on arrival and he could not be resuscitated.
There is a huge lesson to be learned from this. One should never engage in an overly reckless behavior. Exploring a cave that has water flowing into it is an example of this, especially when you have young boys who do not have their parents with them.
Additionally, this incident should be a reminder to everyone that they should not take the people they love for granted. You never know when someone may die. It could be today or tomorrow that you lose a loved one. Situations like the Tham Luang Nang Nonincident are certainly rare, but your friends and family could still be dead before you know it.