On the night of July 2, 2018, Thai people felt happy with the good news that all the children and the coach of Wild Boar youth football team were found safe after being trapped deep inside the flooded Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai Province since June 23, 2018.

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         On June 23, 2018, there was a report that the 12 boys and their coach of Wild Boar youth football team went missing. They left footprints, fingerprints, bags, and 11 bicycles in front of the cave as the clues of disappearance. It was evident that all of them were trapped inside the flooded cave after monsoon rain. The Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn who was in charge of the rescue operation went to the cave to manage the operation by himself.

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          The rescue operation faced many barriers including heavy rain which increased the water level in the cave, at some point it was as high as 5 meters. Also with darkness inside the cave as well as sliding mud, it seemed as if the chance to find them was low. However, with the arrivals of equipment and rescuers: both Thais and foreigners who are experts in each related field, all the hope was raised. EGAT officials were also among those who went there to provide rescue equipment and skills to save all 13 lives.

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          Mr. Bunpoht Teeravas, EGAT Assistant Governor – Mae Moh Mine was the head to lead EGAT team to join this rescue operation since June 26, 2018. The four EGAT officials reported to the rescue operation center, while there was preparation for machine, equipment, and EGAT officials who were skillful on water pumping and electricity systems to support the operation.

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          EGAT team was divided into 2 groups. The first group was comprised of engineers who are expert on explosives engineering in case that it is needed to dig the cave. The other group was comprised of engineers who were expert on water pumping and electricity systems. The equipment EGAT provided for the operation included a 5 kW generator, two 1,510 W concrete extractor (demolition hammer), a 900 W concrete extractor, VCTx2.5 square meters electric line, 500-meters extension cord, and 2,000-meters manila rope with the diameter of 6 millimeters.

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          Later, more modern equipment and EGAT technical team also joined the mission including 3 borescopes that were lowered inside through the channel above the cave to inspect internal area, power main line and equipment to supply the power for pumping machine that enhanced the full operation of 26 pumping machines. This power main line is waterproof and can support the power voltage up to 8,000 volts, so it was very safe for those who worked inside the cave.

    Moreover, EGAT divers from Bhumibol Dam in Tak Province and Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit Province totaling 6 people together with 20 air tanks and 10 diving regulators went to join the rescue mission, while 857 smart LED bulbs were provided by EGAT to be used in the cave.

         After all 13 Wild Boars were found, the rescue team worked harder to lead them out of the cave before the cave would be flooded again. With the help of all sectors and people who gathered there with the same purpose, the children and the coach could get out off the cave safely.

          Interview with EGAT officials who joined the 13 Wild Boars Rescue

    “If you ask if we’re tired, of course we are, but we still fight to save all of them”

    Mr. Wiroat Yabalee, Technician Level 9, Mae Moh Mine

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    “We must work against time. We have to pump the water out of the cave as much as possible. That’s why we sleep only 3-4 hours a day. But I have hope. I fight with rain and water. We do everything to help them.”

    Mr. Jamrus Kiangkaew, Technician Level 5, Mae Moh Mine who installed communication system inside the cave and controlled the pumping system.

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    “It’s quite dangerous for the divers as inside the cave, it’s slippery with slopes and cliffs. But we have to manage it. I’m glad that all the thirteen are safe.”

    Mr. Songkran Yodpunkhum, Nurse Level 6, one of the diver team

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    “After inspecting the cave with the borescope, the data can be used for planning. Engineering science can be used to assist the rescue mission. This is a new science that Thailand should develop.

    Mr. Kittawat Sukosi, Engineer Level 6, one of the borescope team

    All the hard work and dedication bring about good success. The feeling of EGAT people is not different from others. We are happy that the rescue mission completed and feel thankful that all EGAT officials who joined this mission did their best and never gave up to save the lives of people.