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Foreign media slammed for intruding on the Mu Pa 13

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The Mu Pa 13 spoke to the Thai and world media on Wednesday night in a one-time-only media conference. Authorities said that it was now time to leave the team alone and let them re-unite with their families and friends, and get back to their studies and football.

The media have mostly respected the wishes and left the team alone – a threat from the Thai Government to prosecute them under Child Protection Laws helped. But there was always going to be the temptation to get the ‘story’. America’s ABC News were the first to transgress on the Government’s and medical authority’s wishes. But there have been other foreign journalists trying to contact members of the team too.

The Justice Department’s deputy permanent secretary Thawatchai Thaikhieu has expressed disappointment at the conduct of some foreign journalists who are defying advice of psychiatrists and child welfare officials against interviewing the young members of the Wild Boars soccer team after they were discharged from the hospital.

“Some foreign media have acted below the professional standard which is something regrettable and unforgivable,” said Mr Thawatchai. He was apparently responding to an interview that a correspondent of ABC News had with one of the young survivors from Tham Luang cave.

Thai PBS are reporting that the interview has created an uproar on Thai social media after it was aired last night, prompting calls for Thai authorities to take action against the American journalist.

“It is regrettable that foreign media that should be aware of the convention on children’s rights and the process to protect children and youths turnde out to have lower standard than we think. It appears as if they lack common sense and sense of responsibility despite the fact that Thailand has put in place a system to protect this group of children,” wrote Thawatchai in his post.

Child welfare officials and psychiatrists have urged the media to stay away from the 12 young footballers to avoid pressuring them to answer questions that might force them to revisit their harrowing experience.

Here’s the ABC News interview, conducted against the wishes on the Thai Government and officials.

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Chiang Rai

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

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Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The entrance to the real Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border in far north Thailand

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million to Imagine Entertainment and film giant MGM to shoot a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story. The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, The Da Vince Code, Cocoon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Frost/Nixon), and start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate.

The Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, says the production ishould inject more than A$96 million into the Australian economy, “directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew”.

Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia.”

“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”

Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, far north Thailand. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group of diving and rescue experts from all over the world were called up to work together with their Thai counterparts to save the 13 young men. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ron Howard has worked with plenty of Australians in the past.

“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”

Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed by Universal Pictures International.

Watch a message from director Ron Howard HERE.

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Chiang Rai

Tham Luang exhibition opens in Chiang Rai, including a replica of part of the cave – VIDEO

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Tham Luang exhibition opens in Chiang Rai, including a replica of part of the cave – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Chiang Rai Times

A replica of parts of the Tham Luang Cave has been opened for visitors to learn more about the famous cave rescue and experience some of the difficulties faced by rescuers in a replica of parts of the cave, well 30 metres of it anyway.

The exhibition attempts to simulate some of the key incidents that happened during the cave rescue after 13 members of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team were trapped inside from June 23 to July 10 in 2018. The rescue became a huge international story and a new Netflix documentary series releases shortly, including interviews with the 13 young men recalling the stories of the challenges and their fears during the ordeal.

After eventually finding the team members, no mean feat in itself, and international team of divers and Thai Navy Seals came up with a risky plan to extract the entire team, one by one, in a daring 3 day operation. 2 Australian doctors trained the rescuers to administer sedation as the young men were individually brought out of the caves, much of it underwater, through narrow, muddy, winding passageways.

Relive the tense moments of the sage HERE.

If the link doesn’t work on you browser, clickhttps://youtu.be/eYWRD6LbllY

 

The new exhibit recreates moments in the drama with photographs, mannequins and a 30 metre replica section of the Chiang Rai cave network. The Thai government has tightly managed access to the 13 young men since they were rescued from the cave Only one feature film has so far been released and a new Netflix documentary series comes out soon.

The cave itself reopened last year and brought out droves of tourists who wanted to visit the site. Souvenir shops selling trinkets, framed photos of the “Wild Boars” team and t-shirts have also popped up in the park as more curious sightseers explore the area.

Chiang Rai’s governor plans to propose the Tham Luang, Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park as an ASEAN Heritage Park, as the park has geological and biological distinction.

Tham Luang exhibition opens in Chiang Rai, including a replica of part of the cave - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former Thai Sports and Tourism Minister with Vernon Unsworth MBE

The Isan Project has collaborated with the TAT on new marketing campaign featuring music commemorating the Tham Luang cave rescue.

The story of how 13 young men, members of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, were saved in the caves of Chiang Rai continues to ignites interest in the miraculous internationally-followed rescue in July 2018 from the flooded Tham Luang cave

To honour the safe rescue music video company The Isan Projectrecently launched “Where the Eagles Fly”, video to pay tribute to the British hero of the dramatic saga, Vern Unsworth MBE.

The release of a movie and Netflix mini series shortly will also boost interest globally in Thailand. The series includes the first individual interviews with the boys and they coach.

The launch, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and supported by the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit and Serenity Wines, was attended by several key persons involved in the rescue mission two years ago, including former Tourism & Sports Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, who played a major role in flying in special cave divers from the UK as requested by Vernon Unsworth, a recognised cave explorer, who knows virtually every inch of the Tham Luang cave.

“It is absolutely true that without Vernon’s persistence in obtaining the help from the UK cave diving experts to initially spearhead the rescue mission, the boys and their coach would not be alive today.”

“Needless to say, assistance from experienced and skilled cave divers from around the world, who later volunteered to join as well as our own Navy Seals, all contributed to the mission’s ultimate success.”

Vernon Unsworth MBE, his partner Woranan Ratrawiphakkun, and his caving buddy Kamon Kunngamkwamdee, all starred in the “Where the Eagles Fly” fantasy music video, which was set in deep jungle and caves in the mountain of Doi Nang Non in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

“I’m truly honoured to have this song written about me. It was very moving to relive parts of the rescue while making the music video, especially when I think back on how Kamon and I covered over 16 km. on the first day after we knew the boys were missing. We virtually lived in the cave for the first 4 days prior to the arrival of my cave diving colleagues from the UK”.

The story of how the football team were saved in the caves is a heart warming one. For many attending the event it was a privilege and an honour to meet 63 year old Vernon Unsworth in person. An event filled with stories of bravery, emotion and moving music.

Vernon, who has mapped the cave system for 8 years, was the first professional cave diver at the site and realising the enormous danger the boys were in, played a significant rôle in the rescue and earned him the UK’s high honour, an MBE medal.

As the rescue became a race against time ahead of impending monsoon rains, Vernon undertook reconnaissance dives upstream through flooded passages against strong currents.

Weerasak Kowsurat, the former Minister of Tourism and Sports, recalled how a message written on a piece of paper by Vernon and handed to his colleague for safe keeping with instructions that it was to be handed over in case Vernon, fearing the worst, didn’t make it out on an exploratory dive. It was very dangerous work and one Thai diver died during the course of the rescue.

Although Vernon was safe, the message was handed to the Minister who was at the cave site. The message was to contact the British Dive Caving Association and gave names of expert divers and telephone numbers. Within 24 hours the Tourism Minister had managed to get the UK divers on a hastily arranged flight to Thailand to assist in the rescue effort.

The team of UK divers, working under appalling conditions and with time running out, in poor visibility located the team marooned on a ledge above the water about 4 kilometres inside the cave complex.

Writer and executive producer of The Isan Project, Will Robinson says… “Although I had penned and produced “Heroes of Thailand” honouring all those involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue, I felt it was time to pay a special tribute directly to the mastermind of the extremely complex mission.”

“Vernon is such a humble man, I wanted to create a song not only to honour him, but also to establish Tham Luang and what is now known as the ‘Wild Boar Cave’, where the boys were found, as a new tourist attraction for those who love to explore caves.”

At the beginning of the video it reads…

“On June 23, 2018, 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team went exploring the Tham Luang cave with their coach in Chiang Rai. They never returned home that night, next day locals contacted cave explorer Vern Unsworth in nearby Mae Fah Luang. Over the course of the next two weeks Vern put his life on the line for the young football team with a daring rescue engineered by Vern and Elite British cave divers. This song was written in honour of Vern Unsworth M.B.E. and inspired by the above events.”

You can watch the video HERE.

Commenting on the Isan Project Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications said, “TAT appreciates Will’s love of Thailand, and we are delighted to be supporting this launch. We also believe that this song combined with the newly-published children’s book, “All Thirteen” and the soon-to-be released Hollywood movie, “Thirteen Lives”, will help to dramatically boost tourism in and around Chiang Rai even though we will need to rely mainly on domestic tourists until the end of the year while international travel is still restricted.”

“Where the Eagles Fly”, co-written by Will Robinson and Daniel Ryan, and performed by Daniel himself, is tipped to top the charts when the MGM blockbuster movie, “Thirteen Lives” and the Netflix mini-series about the epic story of the Tham Luang cave rescue are released. The song is now available from all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Apple and Amazon.

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | News by The Thaiger

From left: Mr. Sobchai (Ford) Kraiyoonsen Singer/composer, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications, Senator Weerasak Kowsurat former Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Vern Unsworth British cave explorer, Mr. Will Robinson Writer and Executive Producer of The Isan Project, Mr. Nithee Seeprae TAT’s Executive Director of Advertising & PR Department, Ms. Woranan Ratrawiphakkun Vern’s partner, Mr. Sammy Carolus GM of the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit

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