Operation Thai Cave Rescue: The Discovery Channel to air exclusive documentary today
The search and rescue mission to save 12 young boys and their 25-year-old football coach who was trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand for 17 days, has finally, come to a successful end. It was a rescue mission that gripped the world, mobilised governments and enabled teams of over 200 divers, medical practitioners, volunteers and rescue teams. The lives of 13 people were at stake deep inside the Tham Luang Cave, which is a unique place where it’s easy for a person to become completely isolated. The last known survey was conducted in the 1980s by a French caving society, but many of its deep recesses are still unexplored and unmapped.
Bringing this great escape to our living room is The Discovery Channel, where they examine the rescue in detail; in a documentary titled Operation Thai Cave Rescue. It features diver-generated content footage, including exclusive interviews with the family of those who lived through these events. One can expect the documentary to address the rescue from all angles — unique geology, how they survived without water or knowing how to swim, to name a few. Two experts who are featured in the documentary; Prof Ricky Greenwald and Edd Sorenson, get real about rescue operations, emotional impact and more.
Prof Greenwald, an American child trauma psychologist, and founder and executive director of Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute in Massachusetts; shares his views. “It’s possible that the children may have felt scared, discouraged, angry, or even guilty, depending on how they viewed what happened to them. They could also become potentially more sensitive or reactive, and be prone to “survivor guilt,” in that they lived while one of the rescuers did not.”
It’s not all bleak, he says, and highlights how there is a possibility of positive growth too. “Some children may have a greater appreciation for life or a better understanding of how much they can endure,” he opines. It is only natural to feel a sense of shock or alienation, and a period of adjustment might be required before easing them back into normal life.
Cave diving instructor and founding member of the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery (UCRR) Association, Edd Sorenson, weighs in on the subject. “A big concern is the diver running out of breathing gas, and that radios don’t work in water,” he says, adding that temperatures in dry caves like Tham Luang are in the 20s, so one has time before hypothermia sets in. “It’s being in the dark for long periods of time which is more of a problem, especially with children.”
Operation Thai Cave Rescue will premiere tonight at 9 pm on the Discovery Channel.