BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The jaw-dropping drama that unfolded in Chiang Rai's Tham Luang Cave last month (July) can now be experienced at a new interactive exhibition in Bangkok.
The Culture Ministry is holding the exhibition, titled "Tham Luang Incredible Mission: The Global Agenda", at Siam Paragon shopping mall.
There is a 10m-long replica of a portion of Tham Luang cave, where the 12 young members of the Mu Pa Football Academy and their assistant coach were trapped by surging floodwaters on June 23. The last members of the group were rescued on July 10.
"Inside it's narrow and dark," one young visitor said. "I can imagine how difficult it was for the Mu Pa boys trapped in there for two weeks!"
"The real crisis was even worse because it was flooded," said another. "They were patient and very strong. We really have to thank all the heroes who saved their lives."
In all, the exhibition covers 400 square metres.
Visitors can see some of the actual equipment used in the rescue operation, along with many stirring photographs and samples of the global media coverage, including TV news broadcasts seen on dozens of monitors.
There are even Royal Thai Navy personnel on hand every day demonstrating how the footballers were secured in specially rigged cots to be pulled, floated and hoisted out to safety.
The artworks dominate "Hail the Hero", the section of the show devoted to Mr Saman, and a large board has been set up where visitors can leave their own messages of admiration and appreciation.
Another message board shows the thank you messages from the 12 boys and their coach.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who opened the exhibition last Wednesday (Aug 22), said the King had asked the government to host an event at which Thailand could express its gratitude to rescuers from around the world for the success of their undertaking.
It will be held on Sept 8 at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok, and all 8,000 rescuers are being invited to attend, said Mr Wissanu.
The exhibition will close in Bangkok the next day and then tour the country.