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Merit made as Tham Luang closes for now

Merit made as Tham Luang closes for now

CHIANG RAI: Hundreds of people joined in a major merit-making ceremony held in front of Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district yesterday (July 16) after 12 young footballers and their coach were safely rescued from it a week ago, before the cave is officially closed for restoration from today (July 17).

healthculturereligion
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 17 July 2018, 08:38AM


Narongsak Osotthanakorn, the public face of the Chiang Rai cave rescue operation, was greeted as a hero by a crowd of hundreds as he arrived yesterday (July 16) to take up his new posting as governor of Phayao province. Photo: Post Today

Narongsak Osotthanakorn, the public face of the Chiang Rai cave rescue operation, was greeted as a hero by a crowd of hundreds as he arrived yesterday (July 16) to take up his new posting as governor of Phayao province. Photo: Post Today

Among 28 senior monks taking part in the ceremony were Kru Ba Sang La, abbot of Wat Sai Muang in Myanmar’s border town of Tachilek, and Phra Ratanamunee, deputy ecclesiastical Chiang Rai provincial governor.

Other participants included rescue operation head, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, who is currently the governor of Phayao province and former Chiang Rai governor, incumbent Chiang Rai governor Prajon Pratsakul as well as Thai and Myanmar residents.

The boys were successfully extracted from July 8-10. They entered the cave on June 23, when they were trapped following floods inside the system.

A ceremony was also conducted to offer robes to a monk to make merit for Lt Com Saman Gunan, the former Navy Seal diver who died on July 6 during the operation.

Many Thai and Myanmar people came to place flowers, fruits and sweets in front of the cave to pay the homage to sacred spirits.

Jay Hom led a group of 30 people from Tachileik and said she had earlier prayed in front of the cave, asking for the trapped boys to be found. She returned to the site to deliver snacks and fruit to fulfil her vow.

After being discovered four kilometres inside the cave, the 13 were taken care of by army doctor Col Pak Loharachun and three other Navy Seals, who stayed with the group. Col Pak shared photos on his Facebook yesterday that showed him hugging each boy at the hospital, where they are being treated.

“Everyday, the boys tried to dig a hole by using stone pieces to find an exit despite having no food to eat,” Col Pak commented.

The doctor said he noticed that the boys’ coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, always shared his meals with the boys first.

“I am confident that the boys had been well taken care of [by the coach] before they were found. This is because the physical and mental health of all the boys were far better than I had expected,” Col Pak said.

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The boys belong to a local youth football team, called “Moo Paa Academy”, or Wild Boars.

The founder of the team, Nopparat Kantawong, said the team has become popular following the incident and some people have offered funds for the team.

However, he insisted the team will decline any offers of funding.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said he has instructed the Fine Arts Department’s National Archives of Thailand to document the whole rescue incident.

Any people or media outlets who recorded the events have been asked to share their pictures, documents or video clips with the archive.

Authorities also plan to hold exhibitions about the rescue in Bangkok and other provinces across the country, according to the minister.

Chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Thanya Nethithammakul, said a public hearing will debate the possibility of upgrading Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non forest park to official national park status.

“We will close the cave with no time frame [in mind]. We will open it as soon as all things are ready, but we don’t know when,” he said.

Read original story here.

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