BANGKOK — One of the 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 after being trapped for more than two weeks has died in England, where he was attending a sports academy, the organization financing his education said Wednesday.
Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, 17, was found unconscious in his room on Sunday at the Brooke House College Football School in Leicestershire and was transferred to a hospital, where he died Tuesday, Thailand’s Zico Foundation said. The school also announced his death.
“This act has left our college community very grieved and shaken,” school principal Ian Smith said in a statement. “We unite in sadness with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates, and those involved in all facets of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family.”
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The head of the Zico Foundation, former Thai national team captain and coach Kiatisuk Senamuang, said in an online press conference that he did not know the reason for his death and that Dom had seemingly been in good condition.
Dom was the captain of the Wild Boars, a youth soccer team in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai.
Twelve members of the team aged 11 to 16 and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang cave complex in June 2018 when they were stranded by swiftly rising floodwaters. A large search and rescue operation was initiated that includes international divers.
The boys spent nine nights lost in the cave, living on very little food and water before a diver located them deep in the twisting cave complex huddled on a patch of earth above the rising water line. The moment was captured on video and shortly broadcast to the world.
It was another eight days until all were successfully rescued. A team of skilled divers guided each of the youngsters out of the cave on special stretchers after anesthetizing them to keep them quiet enough to carry. The operation entailed installing oxygen canisters along the channel where the divers traveled through dark, tight, and twisting passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.
Dom’s mother, who joined the online news conference, said she hoped a Buddhist monk in England might conduct rites for Dom so his spirit would not be confined where he died according to Buddhist beliefs
The narrative of the Wild Boars, which was covered avidly by international media, has been recounted in various movies, including Ron Howard’s 2022 feature picture “Thirteen Lives” and the 2021 documentary “The Rescue.”