Twelve teenage boys and their 25-year-old coach stranded in a flooded cave in Thailand for 14 days have seized the world's imagination. They disappeared on June 23. A video of the moment they were found on July 2 has gone viral online. In it, a diver with a British accent asked the boys how many there were, and replied "Brilliant" when told there were 13 - which meant all survived nine days in a cold, dark cave 1km deep underground, huddled on a muddy bank 4km from the cave entrance as coffee-coloured waters swirled underneath. They drank water from the cave walls to survive. Despite the initial jubilation, the ordeal is not over as rescuers work on getting them out of the cave. Options include teaching the boys, aged 11 to 16, to swim and dive so they can navigate the narrow flooded tunnels, or waiting months for the rainy season to be over and waters to subside, or boring a way in from the forest floor above. Each option is replete with risks. That a former Thai military diver died after running out of oxygen in the tunnels, illustrates the danger involved.
Globally, many have been captivated by the ongoing story of resilience. The boys from the Moo Pa (Wild Boars) Academy youth football team asked for World Cup updates soon after being found. The football world reciprocated with messages of hope to the boys, including from the English, Japanese and Swedish teams. One of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010 sent a message telling the boys to "Hang in there!"