Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning offered hopes to families of the 12 young footballers and their coach that they will all survive the ordeal as the mission to rescue them from inside Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district entered its sixth day.
Noting that since the children and the teenagers are soccer players, they should be physically fit to cope with the hardships they are enduring.
“You need to have confidence in your children’s physical fitness and the ability of the rescue teams to help them out,” Gen Prayut told families who gathered to meet him at the rescue command centre. Most of the families have been camping just outside the Tham Luang cave ever since the rescue mission was launched last Sunday. The soccer team went missing on Saturday.
The prime minister arrived at Tham Luang-Khunnam Nangnon national park this morning as rescue teams frantically continued to find ways to reach into a chamber of the cave where the children are believed to be taking refuge. Their efforts have been hampered by rough terrains and continuous heavy rains.
Gen Prayut was briefed on the latest situation of the rescue operations before he proceeded to comfort relatives awaiting for good news of their missing children and loved ones.
Gen Prayut said he felt “mentally tortured” by the ordeal the children and their families are going through. “I feel as if they were my own children,” Prayut said.
There was one light moment when some of the family members mentioned the possibility of the children being stranded in an area known as “Pattaya beach” inside the cave. “Let’s do this. If they all come out safe and sound, we will take them to visit Pattaya beach,” the prime minister said, referring to the famous beach in Pattaya, drawing some smiles from the otherwise emotion-stricken villagers.
Prayut later demonstrated how the families should learn to do meditation to relieve their tensions, drawing laughters and rounds of applause from them.
The prime minister also took the opportunity to thank foreign experts and rescue teams who have arrived to help with Thai authorities’ rescue operation.