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Thanksgiving in T&T for Thai cave rescue

Published: 
Monday, August 13, 2018

The power of co-operation and friendship was highlighted yesterday when the Thai Consulate hosted a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the success of the international rescue mission for 12 young boys and their football coach from a cave in northern Thailand last month.

Speaking at the event at the consulate in Belmont, Honorary Consul Joan Wilson said the operation was made a success through the involvement of several countries. She thanked the countries whose nationals participated.

“Their active participation in the rescue mission is testimony to the remarkable strength of international friendship, co-operation and teamwork,” she said.

“One of the striking aspects of rescue was the way it brought the international community together as everyone pushed aside their differences and worked for a shared common goal and with a spirit of common humanity.”

Wilson said 10,000 people participated, including 2,000 soldiers and 200 divers and representatives from 100 government agencies.

As part of yesterday’s ceremony, Wilson lit 13 candles in tribute to those who participated, including former Royal Thai Navy Seal Petty Officer First Class Saman Kuna, who died while assisting in the 18-day operation.

In brief remarks, British High Commissioner Tim Stew said the operation showed the power of selfless acts of quiet bravery.

“It is the definition of bravery to put the lives of others before your own,” he said as he noted that his country’s prime minister had personally thanked members of the British

Cave Rescue Council that participated. Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy John McIntyre said the US Pacific Command sent a search and rescue team to assist. McIntyre said he was amazed by the boys’ will to survive and the dedication of the volunteers to risk their lives for strangers.

Quoting legendary US actor John Wayne, he added: “ Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Caricom Tedwin Herbert delivered remarks on behalf of the T&T Government.

On 23 June, 12 boys went exploring in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province with their football coach and ended up trapped deep inside a flooded cave.

Efforts to locate the group were hampered by rising water levels and strong currents, and no contact was made for more than a week. The rescue effort expanded into a massive operation amid intense worldwide public interest. On 2 July, after advancing through narrow passages and muddy waters, British divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton found the group alive on an elevated rock about 4 kilometres from the cave mouth. Between July 8 and 10 all of the boys and their coach were rescued from the cave by an international team.

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