BANGKOK— One of 12 boys dramatically rescued after two weeks trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 has died in Britain where he was attending a soccer academy, his former teacher said on Wednesday.
Duangpetch Promthep, better known as “Dom”, was captain of the “Wild Boars” team whose seemingly impossible extraction by international divers and Thai navy SEALs captured huge global attention.
The circumstances of 17-year-old Duangpetch’s death were not immediately clear. The news was shared on social media by a Buddhist monk who taught the boys in Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai province.
“Duangpetch Promthep has now gone to another world,” Supatpong Methigo posted on Facebook. “I hope he will be reborn and become my student again in the next life.”
Reuters could not independently confirm the death, which Supatpong said he learned of from Duangpetch’s grandmother, who said he had suffered an unspecified accident in Britain.
Former Thai national team captain and coach, Kiatisuk Senamuang, whose foundation helped Duangpetch secure a scholarship at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire, described him as a polite, kind gentleman who dreamt of playing for his country.
“I wanted to see his dream realised … but rest well now Dom,” he posted on Instagram.
In June 2018, the boys, aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old assistant coach set off to explore the Tham Luang cave complex for just an hour, but ended up trapped by flood waters.
They were found nine days later in a flooded chamber 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the entrance of the caves. Their complicated extraction started six days later in an unprecedented operation during which a retired Thai diver died.
Once rescued, the boys were invited to attend a Manchester United match and their story was the subject of books, documentaries and films, and most recently, the Netflix NFLX.O series “Thai Cave Rescue”.
—Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panu Wongcha-um; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor