Thailand reopens cave where boys' soccer team was trapped for weeks

Thailand reopens cave where boys' soccer team was trapped for weeks
FILE PHOTO: The cave entrance is seen during a ceremony for members of the Wild Boars soccer team, during their return to the Tham Luang caves where they were trapped in a year ago, in Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun -
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CHAINGRAI, Thailand (Reuters) – Thailand has opened the famous Tham Laung cave to the public, after the removal of equipment that was used in last year’s dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped underground for weeks.

Hundreds of people flocked on Saturday to see the cave where the of Wild Boar Academy soccer team was rescued from in July 2018. The visitors created so much traffic that authorities had to allow up to around 30 people to enter at a time.

Duangporn Sookawong, 75, who came all the way from the southern Songkhla province, said she believed that the rescue was a miracle and the boys were lucky that they were able to survive despite being stuck in the dark, complex network of caves for almost three weeks.

Wild Boars Academy’s coach Ekapol Chanthawong and 12 boys had gone to explore the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province on June 23, 2018, when a rainy-season downpour flooded the cave system and trapped them underground.

They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered. An international effort to rescue them ended on July 10 when they all were brought out safely, to the relief of millions of people in Thailand and abroad who had been gripped by their fate.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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