Duangpetch Promthep's death marred the most happy of conclusions to the Thai cave rescue

On July 18, 2018, Duangpetch Promthep visited Chiang Rai, Thailand

We still do not know what caused the sudden death of Duanpetch 'Dom' Promthep at the football academy in Britain to which he had been so proud to win a scholarship last year.

It for the first time gives a story that up until this point still had the ability to uplift and inspire people a sad undertone.

The incredible story of the Thai boys who were rescued from the cave in July 2018 was one of the rarest occurrences in the news industry: a story with an almost perfectly happy conclusion.

I hurried with my colleagues up to Chiang Rai and then to the entrance of the Tham Luang cave complex when we first learned that a group of Thai football players had gone missing, carrying only three days' worth of clothing.

In my haste I had assumed few people around the world would care for long. Either the boys would be discovered or they wouldn't. Then that would be it. It was a serious mistake, and I would later regret my choice of clothing in the muddy surroundings outside the cave.

I was interviewed by a Thai television team five days after the boys' whereabouts and state of survival remained unknown, and Thai rescuers had been forced from the cave by escalating floodwaters. .

I discovered that I was too sensitive to react. The boys and my two sons were roughly the same age. Dom only had 12 extra days on my oldest child. They had become very valuable lives as a result of the day and night reports about them and the fact that their bikes were still chained to the railings by the cave.

We all held out hope that they might still be alive despite all the evidence.

Then came that amazing moment when British divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton came across them and yelled, "How many are you? Thirteen? Brilliant." in the pitch black. It seemed like a miracle in every way.

The number of journalists at the cave site quickly grew beyond its capacity. But we anticipated it would be challenging to get the boys out. In fact, the divers had told the Thai government that it would be a success if even half of them made it out alive.

Duangpetch Promthep and his mother Thanaporn Promthep
Dom and his mother following his 2018 cave rescue.

They were the most well-known boys in the world by this point. Thailand as a whole supported them. The boys were warned that staying there until the monsoon rains stopped four months later was a near-certain way to die, but the Thai government had pushed for this option for days. Their lives had grown to be too valuable.

It seemed impossible that everyone had survived when they finally decided to try the high-risk, improvised rescue plan and we watched the boys and their coach being brought out over the course of three days while being heavily sedated.

Still, they did. They soon won over the world with their first media appearance, smiling, laughing, and kicking footballs around.

At that point, the Thai government assumed command, steering the lucrative negotiations with Hollywood producers and planning international travel. yastmastmastmastmastmas, and.

They remained modest, appreciative of the efforts made by so many to save them, and grateful for the new opportunities their story had provided for them to travel and pursue their studies. However, they never lost their refreshingly grounded nature. Even the worry that fame would unavoidably taint the fairy tale turned out to be unfounded.

Last year, when Dom was awarded the scholarship to study in Britain, he thanked Zico, the former captain of the Thai national team who had made the arrangements and pledged to work hard while he was there.

He wrote, "I will try my best. Anyone who witnessed him and his teammates handling all the attention that came their way so modestly cannot have any doubts that he would have kept his word.

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