The Thai Cave Rescue Mission captivated the whole world this summer when 12 boys and their coach found themselves trapped while exploring in a cave after practice. The initial relief came when the team was discovered by rescue divers, but this feeling did not last long. We soon became aware of the daunting challenges that the rescuers faced in successfully and safely getting the boys out of the cave, with monsoon season quickly approaching. Keep in mind that this was a challenging effort for experienced and professional SEAL divers, so you can only imagine how terrifying this was for the boys and their families.
This article includes an overview of the cave system, with colors indicating water levels, and captions explaining where the boys were found, where rescue base was, and where the narrowest passages were. Next is a brief and concise timeline of key events.
What follows next are very effective visuals to show the amount of water that was pumped out in an attempt to lower the water levels before rescue operations could continue. The writers compared the 243 million liters to a swimming pool containing the same volume of water placed in the World Cup stadium. This pool would have to be 34 meters deep. (That’s roughly 111 feet!)
I found the visualization of the different grotto sizes that were to be encountered from the trapped location the exit especially powerful. The graphic includes an adult person next to a child (to simulate the divers and the soccer players) and places the shape and size of each grotto behind them, along with the distance from the exit.
The detailed visuals that show the different methods of escape, including crawling, diving, and even carrying the boys on stretchers to navigate the tight spaces help the reader to truly understand the scope of the mission.
What a powerful article and an even more impressive rescue operation.
SCMP Graphics Team. “How the Thai Cave Rescue Mission Unfolded.” South China Morning Post, multimedia.scmp.com/news/world/article/2154457/thai-cave-rescue/index.html.