BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Revisit the rescue mission that kept people around the world on their toes: Thai Cave Rescue Limited Series tells the story of grit and gumption, of humanity uniting in a battle of wits against powerful nature to pull off the sensational rescue.
In 2018, for nearly three long weeks of nail-biting suspense, the eyes of the world were on Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai.
Experts from a range of disciplines flew in from all over the world to join a mission to rescue 12 young footballers and their coach trapped deep inside Tham Luang Cave, their exit blocked by sudden flooding.
Each day, every moment posed new challenges, raising hopes and uncertainty, and relentless speculation about the fate of the young lives trapped in darkness without food and water, their whereabouts unknown, and no means of communication.
The boys were first spotted by two British divers before they were rescued after 17 long, gruelling days.
The Nation spoke to Varintorn Yaroojjanont or 'Bloom’ Varin or, in an exclusive interview, on his experience of playing the role of 'Dr Bhak Loharjun' — a Navy doctor with expert diving skills, who assessed and monitored the boys’ physical and mental health during the operation — in the “Thai Cave Rescue Limited Series”.
This incident was all over international news and drew attention from all over the world. As a Thai, how does it feel to be part of telling this story?
"How does it feel to be one of the storytellers of this beautiful story, I feel honoured, to say the least.
"Because this is the point in time of humanity that crosses a difficulty together as not only a whole nation but it doesn’t seem to me at all like there’s any boundary between languages, culture, religion, or beliefs.
"We came together as one, to overcome and accomplish something that is impressive. I remember myself telling all others all the time that this story seems more fiction than real life. But it happened and it’s the real thing, so I think this is the point in the history of mankind that is so beautiful and it’s something to be told for many generations to come. It’s beautiful."
But to really understand what the 13 boys went through in the gruesome situation of rain and heart wrench of watching the waters rise while stuck in a cave for days, ‘Bloom’ Varin decided to recite his lines in a cave.
"So, at that point, I felt like I had to really get into the zone. On one hand, I’ve never had the chance to be a full-time soldier like Dr Bhak, so I remember one evening I had to spend time studying the monologue right beside the pool which was the only source I could get as close to the water as possible.
"But that wasn’t close enough, so I drove myself to the nearest cave which was in Ratchaburi, and spent hours inside the cave trying to study the monologue because inside the cave it is this unique echo and the humidity and everything, you could feel it in the air and there’s no connection from the outside world."
Thai Cave Rescue Limited Series will be released on Netflix for viewing in over 190 countries on Sept 22.
Witness Thailand’s real-life rescue drama, a dangerous race against time and mother nature to save 13 helpless lives.