Thai Cave Rescue


US and Thai officials talk about the plan for rescuing the boys.
Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait

12 young boys and their coach are trapped in a cave with no food or water. Spotlight tells the story of their amazing rescue.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2  

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

The 12 boys loved to play the game of football. They belonged to a football team. Their coach helped them improve their football skills. One day after playing football they went on a special trip. The boys and their coach visited some large caves for fun. These caves under the mountain were very deep. The boys enjoyed exploring the underground paths or tunnels in the caves.

Voice 2  

After an hour they decided to go home. But they had a problem. They could not find the way out. Water blocked their way. Heavy rain had made the tunnels flood. The boys knew they were lost. And they were trapped. Today’s Spotlight is on the rescue of this football team from the Tham Luang Nang Non caves in Thailand.

Voice 1  

This football team was called the Wild Boars. Their young coach was Ekkapol Chantawong. He knew he had to keep the boys safe. He made sure that the boys stayed together. To keep them safe, he led them away from the floods. But this brought them deeper and deeper into the cave. They stopped when they found dry high ground. They hoped the flood water would go by the next morning.

Voice 2  

Back on the surface, people started to search for the boys. A search group found their football equipment by the caves. The police started a major search effort. They found hand prints and foot prints in the caves. But they did not find the boys. The rain was very heavy. The police could see that the caves had flooded.

Voice 1  

The boys and their coach had a torch or flashlight. From its light they saw that the flood water was still there. They hoped that someone would come and rescue them. The boys got very tired. They did not have food to eat. But they were able to drink water. Pornchai Kamluang is 16 years old. He was one of the trapped boys. He explained,

Voice 3  

‘We drank water that fell from the rocks. On the first day we were OK but after two days we started feeling tired.’

Voice 2  

As days passed, the rain kept falling. And the water kept rising. More people joined the rescue effort. Thai navy divers started to explore the flooded caves. Experts started to pump water out of the caves. Expert divers from the United Kingdom joined in the search. The divers said that the water was so dirty that it was like swimming through coffee.

Voice 1  

More days passed. The prime minister of Thailand visited the cave. He did not want anyone to give up hope of finding the boys alive. The large rescue team worked hard. Ninety divers set up a base 700 metres into the cave. They brought in hundreds of tanks of oxygen.

Voice 2  

The boys had been in the cave for ten days. But then something wonderful happened. They heard voices. Two divers from the United Kingdom appeared out of the water. Adul Sam-on was the only boy who spoke English. He was 14 years old. So he ran to speak to them.

Voice 4  

‘We heard some people talking. Coach told us to be quiet and listen. I was amazed because they were English. So I said ‘hello’. They asked how are you? So I said I am OK.’

Voice 1  

Adul answered the rest of divers’ questions in English. He translated for the other boys. He told the divers the boys needed food. The divers were happy that they had found all the boys and their coach. But the divers were also worried. They had found the boys one kilometre UNDER the surface - and two or three kilometres INTO the mountain. The divers did not know how they would get the boys out. Rick Stanton was one of the divers. He said,

Voice 5  

‘As they were coming down the tunnel we were counting them. We got to 13. Unbelievable. They looked in good health. But when we left them, all we could think of was how we were going to get them out. So it was happiness mixed with worry.’

Voice 2  

During the next few days the rescue team worked hard to prepare for the rescue. They brought blankets, food and light for the boys. The boys needed to build up their energy before attempting to escape the cave.

Voice 1  

Experts used pumps to reduce the levels of water that blocked the way out. And divers brought more containers of oxygen into the cave. They used these to improve the quality of air in the cave.

Voice 2  

Divers also brought oxygen that the boys would need to use during the escape. They would be totally covered by water. So they would need to breathe oxygen from a container. The boys had never used this equipment before. Everyone knew that the escape would be very difficult and dangerous. But the boys needed to stay calm. Extreme fear or worry could affect the rescue.

Voice 1  

However, even experienced divers found the trip difficult. Saman Kunan was an experienced diver. He died returning to the outside of the cave. He ran out of oxygen. The coach later said,

Voice 6  

‘We were deeply affected that Saman sacrificed his life to save us so that we could go and live our lives. We were very sad.’

Voice 2  

The authorities in charge of the rescue discovered that the rain was going to get much worse. They only had a few days to rescue the boys. So they started the escape. No one had ever done anything like this before.

Voice 1  

They were successful! Over three days, all 13 members of the Wild Boars team were rescued. They had to travel through dark, narrow, underwater tunnels. Each boy travelled through the flooded tunnels with a diver. And everyone cheered as each boy came out of the cave!

Voice 2  

The boys had spent 17 days underground. They were happy to be safe. They had learned a lot. One boy said that the experience taught him to value his life. But one of their teachers saw something for everyone to learn from the experience. Many people called Adul a hero because he could speak English and translate for his rescuers. Adul’s teacher told the BBC,

Voice 7  

‘You never know when you will need English.’

Voice 1  

Did you follow the story of the boys’ rescue? Have you ever used your English in an unusual situation? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this programme was Katy Blake. The producer was Bruce Gulland. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this programme and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this programme again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This programme is called ‘Thai Cave Rescue’.

Voice 1  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android or Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight programme. Goodbye.

Question:

Has English ever helped you in an unexpected situation?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
HUE NGO
said on May 06, 2019

I practice listening skill through spotlight english everyday.  So it ‘s so efficient. The voice is quite slow,  clear moreover I love all subject which spotlight up to page . Thanks to spotlight english

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on May 06, 2019

Dear Hue Ngo,
Spotlight is a blessing for all who wants to study English.

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Honneur
said on May 06, 2019

Fortunately, I did not use my poor English to save me from a dangerous situation. It would be a tragedy! I remember a funny situation in Paris: I wanted to go to the Louvre Museum, but I did not know the path. I asked, in English, a taxi driver if he spoke Portuguese; Spanish or English, but the only answer I had was: Am! Uh! Am ... So I had a brilliant idea and I said a simple word: Louvre. Bingo! He took me to the Louvre immediately.

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Sima
said on May 22, 2019

I’ve never used my English in an unusual situation, but i hope one day i can do it and know how much I really can speak this language:)