Thailand's Tham Luang Cave To Take New Role As A Learning Centre

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By Haikal Mohd isa

BANGKOK, July 13 (Bernama) – Chiang Rai's Tham Luang cave, where a massive rescue operation to rescue 13 trapped young "Mu Pa" (Wild Boar) footballers and their coach took place, will be turned into a learning centre and Thailand's newest tourist attraction.

For more than two weeks beginning June 23 when the boys went missing, Tham Luang Nan Non cave located in the mountainous region in Mae Sai district, near the Thai-Myanmar border was thrust into global limelight which brought the once relatively unknown cave its new found fame.

"The lessons from the Tham Luang incident, when presented and learned will be useful to people across the world," said the province's former governor, Narongsak Ossothanakorn, whose daily media briefing throughout the 17 days of the mission had made him the face of the rescue operation.

One of the lessons the cave could impart to its future visitors could be on issues regarding safety guidance at tourist destinations.

Tham Luang cave, when it is developed in the future, could also showcase methods and skills on how to survive inside a cave, he said.

Narongsak, who has been praised by Thais for his no-nonsense attitude and decisiveness during the mission, will assume a new duty as the governor of the smaller province of Phayao, an act seen by many in Thailand as a demotion for the senior civil servant.

Besides being developed as a learning centre, there were also plans by the authorities to turn the cave into a museum where efforts to compile equipment and tools used during the massive operations had already begun, he said.

After 17 days stranded inside the cave, the boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach, were finally brought out safely from the flooded cave in a complex and highly risky mission by multinational divers which took three days to complete.

The last five victims including their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong or "coach Ekk" were brought out from the cave Tuesday night.

Despite efforts by authorities to turn Tham Luang cave into a learning centre and tourist attraction gaining pace, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-chan was quoted as cautioning eager officials besides wanting more safety measures at the cave to be upgraded first.

This is to ensure the Tham Luang cave incident is not repeated in the future.