Wild Boars recovering as world praises rescue mission

The 13 members of the Wild Boar soccer team recovering in a Chiang Rai hospital, and all the people of Thailand have expressed their sincere and heartfelt gratitude to members of the world community for banding together to achieve a dangerous and courageous rescue. Now the world is thanking Thailand and those who came to its aid for restoring their faith in human goodness.

“The daring rescue that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand is an exemplary illustration of the best in mankind,’’ said the Boston Herald in an editorial.

Doctors at Chiang Rai Prachanukoh Hospital reported that the boys were in good health considering their ordeal. A few have contracted lung infections, but doctors say they are not serious and expect they will recover soon. Because the time underground weakened their immune systems, the boys are in an isolation ward for a few days. But their spirits are high, as evidenced by a brief video that showed them waving and giving the V for victory hand signal from their hospital beds. By Thursday, relatives were allowed in to see them.

“The boys themselves, with their coach’s encouragement, have shown extraordinary fortitude. At a moment of rising division, the rescue has been a model of international collaboration,’’ wrote Britain’s The Guardian newspaper in an editorial.

“For Thailand, this is about a nation uniting in concern and then delight. The rescue is a true inspiration: a powerful reminder of what can be done when humans overcome their fears, pull together and put others first. In short, when they care. Twelve children were swallowed by the darkness last month. When they re-emerged into the light, they brought the rest of us with them,’’ The Guardian wrote.

The Thai government, in a further gesture of gratitude, awarded all foreigners who participated in the rescue mission Thailand Elite cards. The cards, which cost as much as $30,000, provide a range of perks and benefits, including visa exempt travel to the kingdom for a period of five years. In addition the rescuers will be allowed one free all expenses paid trip to Thailand for a week within the next five years. This includes free airfares on Thai Airways.

In the Middle East, the Gulf News praised the rescue teams and the Thai authorities. “We must offer words of acknowledgment to the Thai officials for their determination in taking every possible measure to ensure that this drama will conclude in the saving of the boys’ and coach’s lives.  What is clear from this unfolding drama is that when we are pushed to work together in a common challenge and goal, we find the means and methods to save lives and reach new levels of heroism,’’ the paper wrote.

In the Big Apple, the New York Post made sure to remember Thai Navy diver Saman Kunan, who gave his life during the rescue mission. “Miracles do happen — but often only because people like Saman Kunan insist on making it so. They are the best of us,’’ the Post wrote.

On the other side of the world, the New Zealand Herald wrote that the tale of the rescue “will live long in popular memory and bear repeated retelling for the goodness it represents. Now we look forward to the book and the movie. And we should.”

And the movie is already coming. Discovery Channel is preparing to air the first hour-long documentary feature on the rescue from Tham Luang Cave this week, entitled Operation Thai Cave Rescue. Several Hollywood production companies have expressed interest in making a feature film about the rescue, according to media reports.

But while film companies and actors battle over the rights to produce and star in the dramatic tale, the New York Daily News summed up the unifying nature of the story perfectly in its brief editorial.

“Call it miraculous if you must, but real people pulled this off by dint of training, perseverance and courage,’’ the Daily News wrote. “Isn’t it nice to have one story, just one, that we don’t have to argue about?”