Is Thai Cave Rescue Accurate?

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Thai Cave Rescue Netflix
Credit: Netflix

If you're looking for an inspiring true story of survival, Netflix has one new suggestion for you. They recently released the limited series, Thai Cave Rescue, on their platform last week. And even though this is not the first time someone made a movie out of the 2018 rescue mission in northern Thailand, it certainly is one that has captured what really happened.

So if you've got questions about the six-part limited series, we've got the answers that you're looking for.

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Thai Cave Rescue: Is It Real?

Divers entering cave in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Unfortunately, yes. Thai Cave Rescue is based on the true events of the 2018 rescue mission of the Thai football team and their coach who got stuck in a flooded cave for over two weeks. It's an incredible story of hope and survival that grabbed the attention of the world.

The story is about the 12 boys between the ages of 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach as they made it through 18 days inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system after heavy rainfall.

This is the fourth time their story is told in a series. And as the producers of Thai Cave Rescue promise, they share exclusive insights from their exclusive interview with the boys. In fact, some of the scenes were shot from the boys' homes.

Showrunner Dana Ledoux Miller share to TIME magazine that "The boys are the heart and soul of our series."

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In the same interview, director Kevin Tancharoen says: "To have that kind of access and be able to ask the questions on the ground with the people who were actually inside the cave stuck, like the boys, was invaluable. I just think that point of view is something that sometimes gets missed in other projects because it's mainly focused on the mechanics and just how difficult the task at hand was on a technical level."

Miller said: "The last thing we wanted to do was re-traumatize kids who had gone through something so incredible, and fraught. I think the surprise was that they walked in and they were so open and eager and they shared so much with us."

The other movies that told the story include 13 Lost: The Untold Story of the Thai Cave Rescue, The Rescue, The Cave, and Thirteen Lives. The last one was recently released by Amazon Prime Video.

Thai Cave Rescue: Why Did They Go In?

Boys looking at flooded entrance in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix
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The 12 boys and their coach entered the cave on June 23, 2018 after their football practice session. What started as a fun after-practice trip became an experience the team, the Wild Boars, would never forget.

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The 25-year-old coach Ekkapol Chatawong wanted to give the young boys a chance to explore a cave he previously visited. The plan was to stay in Tham Luang cave for just an hour. The group left their belongings at the cave's entrance before wading in and going to the end of the tunnel. It was like an initiation for the soccer team since they were told to write their names on the wall and return to the mouth of the cave.

Even though some of the boys were able to explore the cave system in the past, they became stuck in it after a flash flood took place. The boys were then reported missing after failing to return home in June 23rd.

The boys were found by two British divers and some members of the Thai Navy Seals on July 2. The divers reportedly took three hours to reach the location of the boys.

When Was Thai Cave Rescue?

Diver in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix

After they were reported missing, it took 9 days for rescuers to find the 13 boys in a flooded chamber. This prompted several volunteers to join the operation to bring the boys back out safely.

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On July 8th, 6 days after the boys were found, the first four boys were taken out of the cave. The next day, another batch of four boys were extracted. And on July 10th, the last batch of boys were safely brought out of the cave.

Thai Cave Rescue: How Long Were They Trapped?

Coach talks to the boys in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix

The boys were trapped in the flooded cave system since June 23rd. They were found on July 2nd and fully extracted by July 10th. This means that it took a total of 17 days until all of the boys were rescued.

Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, a couple of divers from the British Cave Rescue Council, found the soccer team around 10pm on July 2nd. The extreme flooding pushed the boys to move further the cave system, which was about 4km from the opening.

How Many Died Thai Cave Rescue?

The boys hugging in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix
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The soccer team and their coach made it out of the cave alive. Unfortunately, one of the rescuers, Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, died while he was delivering oxygen tanks. Reports say he lost consciousness while he was underwater. A fellow diver attempted CPR on him but was unfortunate.

Another death linked to the rescue mission happened a year later. Thai Navy SEAL Beirut Pakbara contracted a blood infection while doing the rescue. He died from that in 2019.

Thailand Cave Rescue Team Members

Thai diver in Thai Cave Rescue on Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Over 10,000 people joined in the rescue mission. Because of how intricate the cave system was, they thought of different rescue options, such as teaching the boys how to dive, drilling a rescue shaft, and sending in food and water until the end of the monsoon.

But since the cave maze was very challenging, the first option was quickly ruled out. Instead, the team decided to sedate the boys so they could be towed out individually.

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Beginning July 8th, the rescue operation started. 18 divers went into the cave, each one getting assigned to the boys and with some extra hands to help. Along the way, each boy had to be re-sedated too. The rescue team also had an anaesthetist to perform the strategy to make sure the boys were safe.

Thai Cave Rescue is currently available to stream on Netflix. You can watch the trailer here:


RELATED: Is Thirteen Lives Coming Out in August 2022?

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