The Rescue

Literally the two worst things I can imagine is being trapped underground and drowning. So for me, the trailer for this looked like a horror film. The Descent or something.

The Rescue is a documentary about the attempt to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded underground cave. The story made global news, but this film tells it from the mouths of the people involved. And it actually makes for an even more astonishing tale.

The news reports didn’t do it justice. Partly because they obviously weren’t on the inside of the rescue, but also because those who were were not about to publicly say just how dire the situation was.

The Tham Luang Nang Non cave system is over 6 miles long. It’s narrow and winding. When it suddenly flooded, no one knew where the boys were within the cave system. At first they thought they would be found in the first chamber beyond the flooded tunnel, but when they got there, there were 4 cave system workers who no one even realised were missing.

To rescue them, the divers had to give them an additional mouthpiece to their tank and just say, “Hold this in your mouth or you’re doing to drown. Hold on to me and swim.” When you are in the darkness, blind in water, encased on rock on all sides, and the only thing tethering you to life is a small rubber tube… it’s seems unimaginably terrifying. And the cavers found moving them extremely hard, because they thrashed, they panicked. And despite the relatively brief time they were underwater, the task of moving them was dangerously difficult.

In some ways, this movie is like 100 miles of bad road, each time you think you’re through the worst of it, some more bad news appears. The kids are not where they were expected to be, and even moving adults had been near impossible. Despite it only being a few days, the possibility the children were dead was beginning to look more and more likely. And the further and further into the cave system the divers looked, the more convinced they were that their mission would be body retrieval. Because they were diving for miles and miles, for over 2 hours underwater. There seemed no possibility anyone could have survived.

And then…

“Believe” says the diver to the crowd of boys huddled on a rock slope. “Believe.”

It’s the video watched around the world, but seeing it after knowing just how bad the odds were against them, it just brought me to tears. It honestly seems like a miracle.

And you sigh with relief. But now the hard part starts. Remember the cave workers who kicked and thrashed when they were underwater for 2 mins? Now imagine they were scared children and the journey was over 2 hours. This is an expedition even the Thai Navy Seals found arduous, and had to defer to the cave divers on. Swimming these kids out just seemed impossible. But this is a movie about the impossible.

It’s also a movie about what can be achieved when people come together for the common good. The Thai Navy Seals, the American army, the British cave divers, the volunteers from Australia, China, and all over the world. Different nations, different languages, different cultures. But everyone working together to help. That also seems like a miracle.

Honestly, this movie will leave you in tears, and in reverence for the best in human beings. The sacrifices people make for strangers, just because they are their fellow man. It gives you hope.

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