Cave rescue brought out the best in people

July 14, 2018 GMT

A collective sigh of relief and prayers of thanks were heard around the world as the last of the 12 members of a boys soccer team and their coach made it out safely from a labyrinth cave complex in northern Thailand.

There’s a lesson in the near-tragedy. Global rescue effort brought together people from various countries, cultures and religious beliefs. It was as if, for just a very brief moment in time, we were all on the same team, rooting for the same outcome.

The Thai rescue effort showcased humankind at its best, as Thai Navy SEALS, British cave experts, Australian cave rescuers, a U.S. military team, Israeli communications specialists, Chinese lifesaving responders and an assortment of other unsung heroes worked to end the 18-day ordeal.

Rescuing the boys, members of Wild Boars youth soccer team, and their 25-year-old coach was no minor feat. Many considered it mission impossible, and, regrettably, the effort cost the life of a former Thai SEAL, who died on his way back from delivering oxygen.

After the rescue was complete, Chiang Rai province’s acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn was effusive in thanks to his countrymen, the international rescue personnel and the many volunteers and agencies who assisted in this extraordinary rescue.

“I believe we have a special power: love,” he said. “We love each other. We sent love into the cave. This is a lesson I want Thailand to remember, this is the lesson I want the world to see.”

We saw, and it has been duly noted.