“13 lives”: the real case of the children of Thailand who were trapped in a cave and were rescued

On August 5, “13 Lives” opens, directed by Ron Howard. (Prime Video)

One of the most anticipated premieres of Prime Video. This is the film directed by Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13)called 13 lives (Thirteen Lives), which tells the incredible true story of the massive global effort to rescue a Thai soccer team trapped in Tham Luang cave during an unexpected storm.

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with script of William Nicholson (Gladiator, Mandela: Long Walk For Freedom and Everest), the film goes through all the aspects of the challenge that implied for the most experienced team of divers in the world to rescue 12 children and their coach: in total, thirteen lives. The divers were the only ones who knew how to adapt to navigate the labyrinth of narrow, flooded tunnels that would take them to where the victims were trapped. This rescue team was joined by Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers from various countries such as the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Sweden.

Everyone was on vigil waiting for news about these thirteen lives. (Prime Video)

With potentially deadly consequences and the eyes of the world on them, the group embarked on their most challenging dive session yet, showing the limitlessness of the human spirit in the process. The film is starring Viggo Mortensen (Green Book: Friendship Without Borders; Crimes of the Future), Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; The Batman), Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby),Tom Bateman (Revenge; Death on the Nile), Paul Gleeson (The Little Death), Pattrakorn Tungsupakul, Tui Thiraphat Sajakul, James Teeradon Supapunpinyo, Sahajak Boonthanakit Y Weir Sukollawat Kanaros, among others.

The rescue took 18 days and the situation of the young people was told in detail from all the television channels around the world. This case is somewhat reminiscent of that of the Chilean miners who in 2010 managed to get out alive after being trapped in the San José mine at 700 meters.

Actor Viggo Mortensen as one of the rescuers in "13 lives". (Prime Video)
Actor Viggo Mortensen as one of the rescuers in “13 Lives.” (Prime Video)

The tragedy began on June 23, 2018, when the rainy season, which runs from July to November, was still a week away. The Wild Boars football team, made up of twelve boys between the ages of 11 and 16, and their coach Ekkaphon Chanthawong, 25, decided to walk through the Tham Luang cave in the Thai province of Chiang Rai.

This was an activity carried out by all the boys who trained: they entered the bottom of the cave and carved the name of the team on a rock. But heavy rain surprised them and the entire team was trapped. This cave is ten kilometers long and in turn is located approximately 1000 meters below the mountain. It has infinite narrow passageways and very dark zigzagging tunnels, which made it extremely difficult to rescue. Let us remember that one of the rescuers ended up losing his life when he ran out of air while he was on his way to look for the boys.

Twelve children and their coach were trapped after the rain surprised them. (Prime Video)
Twelve children and their coach were trapped after the rain surprised them. (Prime Video)

Interviewed by the Spanish newspaper The worldthe actor Colin Farrell gave details about his role. “I got in touch with John Valentin, who is the rescuer I play, and he was incredibly generous in giving me his time. We were talking on FaceTime and I was able to ask him what I wanted about his feelings: what was that like, what was the mood, how did they feel when they found the children, and if they thought the children were already dead. And it was so open that, deep inside, telling this story I feel part of it, because everything is so sincere.”

It is worth clarifying that there is also a documentary available about this case called TheRescue, released in 2021 produced by National Geographic and which is available at Disney Plus.


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“13 lives”: the real case of the children of Thailand who were trapped in a cave and were rescued