Thai cave boy’s ashes arrive home after sudden death at UK football academy

The cremated ashes of one of the 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in 2018 have arrived in the far northern Thai province of Chiang Rai

Kaweewit Kaewjinda
Saturday 04 March 2023 11:39 GMT
Thailand Cave Boy
Thailand Cave Boy (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Louise Thomas

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The cremated ashes of one of the 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in 2018 arrived in the far northern Thai province of Chiang Rai on Saturday where final Buddhist rites for his funeral will be held over the next few days following his death in the UK.

Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, 17, was found unconscious in his room on Feb. 12 at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire and was taken to a hospital, where he died two days later.

Duangphet’s body was cremated earlier this week in the UK where Buddhist monks performed rites at the funeral ceremony in accordance with his family’s wishes. The family watched a live video stream of the funeral in the U.K. from Chiang Rai.

His ashes were brought from the UK and handed over to his family at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok on Saturday morning before they boarded a flight to Chiang Rai.

Duangphet's family and friends waited for the arrival of his ashes at the Chiang Rai airport. His former coach Ekapol Chanthawong, who was also trapped in the cave with him, held a large portrait of his former pupil.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Duangphet’s grandparents burst into tears as they were handed a small box containing his ashes at the Chiang Rai airport.

Dom had previously gained worldwide fame as the captain of The Wild Boars, or Moo Pa in Thai, football team.

In 2018 Dom and his team became trapped in the caves after a sudden storm caused flooding which blocked the exit.

The boys, then aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach spent nine days in darkness without food before they were found by an international search and rescue effort involving around 10,000 people.

Dom turned 13 while trapped in the cave and images of the boys were beamed across the world.

The Thai funeral for Duangphet will take place at Wat Phra That Doi Wao, less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Tham Luang Cave where Dom, along with his teammates and coach, were trapped for more than two weeks in 2018 before they were safely guided out by a team of expert divers.

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