Thai rescue site to become museum
Film in works
MAE SAI, Thailand, July 12, (Agencies): Rescuers who pulled a young Thai football team from deep inside a flooded cave were dismantling their worksite Thursday, as plans emerged to turn the spot into a museum in tribute to the daring operation.
At least one film production house was already working on a scheme to make a Hollywood treatment out of the heroics of divers, cavers and medics who risked their lives to free the “Wild Boars”.
Stunning footage of that rescue was released Wednesday showing the youngsters — aged 11 to 16 — being stretchered to safety.
They were also seen sitting cheerfully in their hospital beds, where they are being kept in isolation until doctors are sure they did not pick up any nasty diseases during more than two weeks in the dark.
Workers were Thursday packing up the industrial water pumps, heavy-grade machinery and construction equipment at the mouth of the Tham Luang cave, which had been a high-tech command centre during the 18-day ordeal.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters the site would ultimately be converted into a museum showcasing the clothes and equipment used during the dramatic rescue.
The rescue of the “Wild Boars” team was still being celebrated in Thailand as the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach recovered in a local hospital.
The Nation newspaper called the operation a “Triumph of global cooperation” on its front page Thursday while the Bangkok Post published a collage of images of those involved under the heading “You Are Heroes.”
The saga started on June 23 when the players walked into the Tham Luang cave complex after football practice and were trapped when monsoon flooding blocked their exit.
Nine days later British divers found the dishevelled and hungry group perched on a ledge 4 kms (2.5 miles) inside the cave.
Over the following week, experts from around the world descended on northern Thailand and rescuers pumped out more than 50 Olympicsized swimming pools-worth of water.
A huge media pack of more than 1,000 journalists gathered at the mouth of the cave feeding audiences all over the globe with every twist and turn of the dramatic rescue until its joyful conclusion on Tuesday. The huge international interest in the story sparked immediate talk of books and films.
Michael Scott, the managing partner of faith-based production house Pure Flix, said the company intends to pursue a film about the againstthe-odds mission.
Scott, who lives in Thailand and went to the site in Chiang Rai as the boys were being pulled to safety, made the announcement late Tuesday on Twitter in a video.
“We’re here really looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people across the globe,” Scott said.
Meanwhile, the head of a Thai navy SEAL diving team that helped lead 12 boys and their soccer coach through a flooded cave complex to safety urged the boys on Thursday to “make the most” of their lives and be a force for good.
“Make the most of your lives. Be good people, be a force for good for your country,” Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew, commander of Thailand’s navy SEALS unit, said in a message to the boys before boarding a flight from Chiang Rai.
“Hooyah!” Apakorn shouted before flying out, using a morale-building navy term.
Footage released by the SEALs showed parts of the rescue operation that captivated the world.
The boys were held close to the divers and remained motionless for parts of the journey where they had to dive. They were then carried on stretchers through dry parts to the cave’s entrance.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday the operation was nothing short of a miracle.
Families of the 12 boys have been allowed to visit them.
A statement from Thailand’s public health ministry on Thursday said two boys from the first group rescued on Sunday who were diagnosed with a lung infection were recovering well. Three boys from the last group saved have ear infections.
The boys’ families can visit them wearing protective gowns and masks, it added.