Two Thai boys miraculously missed ill-fated cave trip at last minute

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I should be trapped underground… but I had homework to do’: Two boys who missed Thai football team’s cave trip reveal the twists of fate that saved them from disaster

  • Songpol Kanthawong and Tsaweechai Namsang – both 13 – were supposed to be with their football team exploring the caves
  • Trip with their football coach was meant to be a treat after training where they were going to spend four hours exploring the tunnels 
  • But the boys pulled out of the proposed trip at the last minute and didn’t go with the boys
  • Songpol Kanthawong had to go home and finish his school work while his friend Tsaweechai Namsang was collected from training by his mother
  • Tsaweechai didn’t have a bike to cycle up to the entrance of the caves
  • Now both boys are praying for their friends’ safe return and hoping that they will soon be reunited 

Two Thai school boys have revealed how they miraculously missed their football team’s ill-fated trip to the Thamg Luang cave because one hadn’t finished his homework and the other got a lift home from training with his mother.

Songpol Kanthawong and Tsaweechai Namsang – both 13 – were supposed to be with with 12 other boys and their football coach on a walk through the tunnels.

But the boys pulled out at the last minute and now they can only watch and hope as rescuers race against time to try and save their teammates. 

Songpol Kanthawong and Tsaweechai Namsang – both 13 – were supposed to be with with 12 other boys and their football coach on a walk through the tunnels

The boys have been trapped in the cave for almost two weeks


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Songpol told MailOnline: ‘I should have gone on the trip to the cave but I didn’t have my bike so I could ride up there. Otherwise I would have been stuck too.’

Tsaweechai added: ‘I was going to go to the cave but I had not done my homework. So I had to go home to finish it.’

Speaking at the Mae Sai Prasitsart School where most of the Wild Boar team are students the youngsters told how they missed their team-mates and prayed for their safe return.

Songpol Kanthawong, a member of the Wild Boar Football team

Songpol said: ‘When I found out that they were trapped I was so sad and upset. I was crying and I could not sleep that night I can’t stop thinking about them. I was very frightened for them.

‘My mum would have been struck down with worry if I was with them. She would have ended up in hospital.’

Tsaweechai added: ‘When I first heard the news that they were trapped I didn’t believe it. But as more and more reports came out I realized it had to be true. I am worried about them.’

The boys cycled up to the cave with the coach after training for what was meant to be a four-hour walk around the caves as a treat.

But they got stuck by rising floodwaters and were finally found nine days later when two hero British divers reached them on Monday. 

Speaking at school, the pair revealed that they have faith that their football coach will keep their friends safe and prayed for their speedy evacuation.

‘The trip to the cave had been planned for a few days. It was like a treat,’ Songpol said.

‘We all like the coach and I would have been happy to follow him into the cave. I know he would do everything to keep us safe.’

Tsaweechai revealed he has been inside the Thamg Luang once before and described it as ‘scary but beautiful.’

He told MailOnline: ‘It is really, really dark in there, it’s scary. But it is also beautiful. The walls glow in the dark.

Rescue teams are working around the clock to free the trapped boys

Navy SEALS have carried out a rehearsal for when the boys are brought to the cave entrance

‘If I could send my friends a message I would say; ‘stay strong’. I would tell them that I miss them and that I can’t wait to play with them again.

He added: ‘I know the army and even foreigners have come to save them.’

Songpol said the boys will not believe how their ordeal has captured the attention of the world.

He told MailOnline: ‘I can’t wait to tell the boys how they are the centre of attention. I will tell them how the whole of Thailand and even other parts of the world have been praying for them. I will be so happy when they get out.’

Meanwhile further details of the stranded boys’ underground ordeal have emerged.

The group have been forced to abandon the Pattaya Beach area of the cave where they were discovered and venture some 200m further into the mountain after the ledge became submerged by the rising flood waters.

The boys and their coach are now perched on a bumpy cave ledge, known as ‘Women’s Boobs’, according to Chiang Rai Provincial Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn.

The governor revealed that the boys had undergone their first day of scuba diving training in preparation for their evacuation.

Divers face a race against time to rescue the boys, who will be taught how to swim before they are freed from the cave

However, he said the youngsters would each undergo a thorough medical examination to decide whether they were fit enough for the arduous escape.

He added that the boys and their coach were in good spirits and their health was improving following their first meal in days.

Governor Narongsak said the authorities did not under-estimate the challenge facing the youngsters, revealing that it took the Thai Navy Seals six hours to reach the boys and five hours to return, negotiating their way through the complex cave system.

But he said: ‘The water level remains the main concern and the need for urgency.’

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