The real story behind miracle Thai cave rescue

Survivors: The team wearing their Wild Boars kit — presented to them by the Thai king. © Getty

Should the story be made into a film? In an extraordinary press conference, the Thai cave boys spoke about their “miracle” rescue. Two movies based on the tale are already in the works.

The story captured the attention of the world. Twelve boys and their football coach trapped deep inside a cave for almost three weeks — only saved after a huge international rescue effort.

At an press conference on Wednesday, those who lived through the remarkable tale told it in their own words.

“We planned to go for an hour,” said coach Ekkapol “Ake” Chantawong.

But on the way back out, the group noticed pools of water forming as the rising tide blocked the entrance. Ake realised the team was trapped.

“We slept at this sand spot,” Ake said. “Before we slept, we prayed to Buddha. We thought in the morning, [the] water would come down.”

But it only rose higher, forcing the group deeper into the cave. They continued to wait, and wait, and even made attempts to escape: “We tried to dig [ourselves] out. We took turns digging at the cave walls,” Ake said.

After nine tortuous days, the boys were finally found by rescue divers: “I thought this was really a miracle. I didn’t know how to respond,” said 14-year-old Adun.

Despite only recently being discharged from hospital, the team is already to be immortalised in film, with two separate adaptations in the pipeline.

Should the story be made into a film?


No way, some argue. The boys’ trauma is not some commodity to be exploited by Hollywood bigwigs: leave them in peace. The tale speaks for itself and does not need an exaggerated adaptation.

Of course, others respond. Cinema is the greatest medium our culture has for recognising extraordinary events. A sensitively produced film would bring us even closer to the story, and spread its message of hope and resilience around the world.

You Decide

  1. Should the Thai cave rescue be turned into a movie?


  1. Imagine you have been asked to write a new movie based on the cave rescue. Write the script for its opening five minutes. As well as the dialogue, include details on the setting, sound and music. How can you make the opening as gripping as possible?

Some People Say...

“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.”

Jean-Luc Godard

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
All members of the team are now due to be ordained as Buddhist monks for a short period of time. This a tradition in Thailand for males who have experienced misfortune.
What do we not know?
What psychological harm may have been caused to the boys. “We don’t know what wounds the kids are carrying in their hearts,” said Tawatchai Thaikaew, an official at the Thai justice ministry.

Word Watch

The Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand.
Thai Navy Seals undertook much of the rescue operation. They were also helped by British and Australian divers.
When they were found, the group was approximately four kilometres from the entrance of the cave. It took professional divers around six hours to travel to their location.
Hollywood often makes movies out of real-life survival stories. For example, The 33 was produced following the rescue of a group of Chilean miners who had become trapped underground.

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