Documentary about the cave accident in Thailand with children and coaches

Caught in the mountain – just thinking about it makes your chest feel tight. In the summer of 2018, the whole world feared for 12 young footballers and their coach who were stuck in a cave system in Thailand for nearly three weeks. Heavy rain flooded large parts of Tham Luang Cave, thousands of civilian and military relief workers from Thailand and many other countries were fighting for the lives of children with ever new ideas. And to the end it was not certain whether they would appear again.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

In the end, everyone was saved, and the whole world was involved in the media. Older Germans thought of the “Lingade miracle” in 1963, 14 days after a mine accident, eleven miners were pulled out of an iron ore mine.

Recommended editorial content

At this point you will find external content from Youtubewhich completes the article. You can view it with one click.

I agree to display external content to me. This allows personal data to be transferred to third-party platforms. More about this on our website Privacy Notices.

Only a year after the happy ending, a dramatic film about the incident has moved to film festivals and in some countries – but not in Germany – to the cinema. Thai-Irish director Tom Waller gave his film a documentary twist, which was entirely at the expense of the character’s illumination. The Cave Can’t Be Saved (2019).

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The documentary “The Rescue” by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, which has been on the Disney+ streaming service for a few days and which captivates viewers a full 107 minutes away, is completely different, like a huge thriller. The two directors have already managed to catch the audience’s breath several times – for example with the Academy Award-winning documentary “Free Solo” (2018) about free climber Alex Honnold, who was the first non-rope climber to climb the nearly 1,000-meter-high outcrop From El Capitan in Yosemite to the National Park. You are also so fascinated by “The Rescue” that you forget that everything ended so well in that time.

Chen and Wasserheli are masters of documentary arts

This is because husband and wife Chen and Vasarheli are excellent realist narrators who initially present their scenario to the audience in a brief but radical way. The cave has always been one of the children’s playgrounds. It is endless with many bottlenecks and – and after floods – strong currents. It is closed every year in July, but is still open in June, when such heavy rains are unusual. Time is ticking: four months of the rainy season are imminent, during which the last air chamber will also sink. The Thai Navy’s special forces proved neither trained nor equipped for cave diving.

“Cave alien crazy” Fern Unsworth, who discovered Tham Luang, then suggests fellow countrymen Rick Stanton and John Volanthen – what he calls “the world’s best cave divers.”

The project soon became impossible for cave divers

Deploy the British heroes (and later colleagues), who make their way into the cave and first find the pump workers comfortable in the third “room” instead of the children, who also have to be rescued after an inappropriate nap. When these men panic after just 40 seconds of diving, the impossibility of their adventure appears to the rescuers. Eventually, deeper in the cave than expected, they encounter an exhausted, emaciated but never loyal soccer team.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

But how do you get these kids, who have never worn scuba gear and often can’t swim, through miles of murky water? An unusual and perilous plan forms – but after all the deliberation, it’s the only one the captives of the mountain face.

Even those who followed all the programs at that time will learn something new

Everything is lit, and even those who have meticulously followed all the radio programs about the tragedy learn something new: from the engineering feat of redirecting the waterfall to the firm belief of a “holy man” assuring parents that the boys will be back in a few days. The tragic love story of a princess from a fairy tale also plays a role in the thrill of Rescue. And no, the locals do not happen to be backward peasants run by clever Western minds. Everyone does their best and everyone is allowed to express their opinions in front of the camera. This big story made up of many small stories is round – and fair.

But of course it is Stanton and Volanthen – many interviews were filmed after the event – divulging details that were not in the news at the time. Self-explanatory and their love for the narrow and winding subterranean worlds. When it becomes intimidating and frightening to others, they are overwhelmed with joy, curiosity, and a sense of safety (“Escape from normal society and become a caveman again”).

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The two-person team is empathetic enough to see themselves in the eyes of traditional lifeguards – “two middle-aged men trying to make themselves feel important”. They realize that if only the bodies are found, the jubilant mood after the survivors are found can shift. The viewer understands that the rescue is not fifty things either, it is only successful if all the children manage to drown in the arms of their parents as in the happy ending of an old Hollywood movie.

Then, when the monsoons blow, the window of opportunity narrows. This is the moment when, as a spectator, you place your hands under your thighs so you don’t start biting your nails again. Rarely do I see something exciting, touching, touching.

The “rescue” message is no less satisfying: the world has been a team here on a small scale, giving hope that they too can stay together on a large scale. This feat gave those who dared, some of whom felt obsessed, more self-confidence. Her love for her neighbor and selflessness as human traits can be tested in this movie, which is a good thing after all the antisocial behavior and unreasonableness of those who put their neighbors’ well-being and, yes, their neighbors’ lives behind their personal freedom when it comes to pandemic vaccination goes. Reason and love are possible, this is the message of this documentary, a thriller and a thrilling film.


“Rescue – Cave Disaster in Thailand”, 107 min, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, starring Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, Saman Ghonane, Williborn Ghonan, Fern Unsworth, Chris Jewell, Richard Harris (streaming on Disney+)

Leave a Comment