Wild Boars reunited in grief: Ex teammates of Thai cave survivor who died in Britain attend memorial

Grieving family and former Wild Boars teammates reunited in grief on Thursday when they held a religious ceremony for the Thai cave survivor who died in an apparent accident in the UK.

Mother Thanaporn Phromthep joined friends and relatives as they performed religious rites for Duangphet ‘Dom’ Phromthep, 17, at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, on February 16. 

Former coach Nopparat Kanthawong, 41, also joined the ceremony.

As Duangphet’s body has not yet been repatriated from Britain, the young man’s parents took his pictures, clothes, and shoes to the memorial service.

Dom’s favourite Nike trainers and a colourful t-shirt were laid on the ground below his photograph and dozens of bunches of flowers. In accordance with Buddhist beliefs, they prayed for Dom’s spirit to ‘come back home’.

Mother Thanaporn Phromthep joined friends and relatives as they performed religious rites for Duangphet 'Dom' Phromthep (seen in a photograph at the ceremony), 17, at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, on February 16

Mother Thanaporn Phromthep joined friends and relatives as they performed religious rites for Duangphet ‘Dom’ Phromthep (seen in a photograph at the ceremony), 17, at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, on February 16

Grieving friends and former Wild Boars teammates attended the ceremony on Thursday

Grieving friends and former Wild Boars teammates attended the ceremony on Thursday

Dom's mother Thanaporn Phromthep and other relatives are seen at Thursday's ceremony after his death this week

Dom's mother Thanaporn Phromthep (left) and other relatives are seen at Thursday's ceremony after his death this week

Dom’s mother Thanaporn Phromthep and other relatives are seen at Thursday’s ceremony after his death in the UK this week

Duangphet died on February 14 following an apparent accident in his dorm at the Brooke House College football academy in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. 

The cause of his sudden death was not explained by officials in the UK.

‘Everyone was devastated when they heard the news of Duangphet’s passing,’ temple abbott Phra Kru Prayut Jetiyanukarn said.

‘He was only 17 years old. It’s been hard on his parents and friends. It had always been his dream since he was little to travel abroad and play football.’

Duangphet was the former captain of the Wild Boars football team in Thailand, some of which were also at the ceremony on Thursday, Thai media reported.

The group of 13 – 12 boys and their coach – was rescued from the Tham Luang Cave in June 2018, following an intense mission that gripped headlines around the world.

Duangphet went on to receive a scholarship from the Sport Education Project and the Zico Foundation by Thai football legend Kiatisuk ‘Zico’ Senamuang. 

Former Thai national team captain said in an online news conference that he did not know the cause of death and that Dom had apparently been in good health.

‘This event has left our college community deeply saddened and shaken,’ Brooke House College principal Ian Smith said in a statement after Dom’s death.

‘We unite in grief with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family.’

Dom’s mother said she hoped a Buddhist monk in England could conduct rites for Dom so his spirit would not be trapped where he died according to Buddhist beliefs.

Speaking on Thursday, Dom’s mother said she hadn’t slept in days after being told of her son’s death. But she said she thankful for the support being shown.

‘I am grateful for Dom’s friends. They have always loved and cared for each other dearly,’ she said.’It’s been hard for us to sleep. We woke up at 2 am and prepared the food and incense for the monks.’ 

Dom’s friends from the Wild Boars have agreed together to help repatriate his body so proper Buddhist rites can be conducted in Thailand.

Reports in Thailand said his family want his body brought home so he can be given a traditional, ‘northern-style’ funeral.

Thanapron said as of Thursday, the family were still unaware of how their son died. 

She said: ‘We don’t know. It’s a shock, we’re all still shocked. We have to accept what has happened and pray for him.’ 

Dom was the captain of the Wild Boars, the youth soccer team in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai. 

Twelve members of the team, ages 11 to 16, and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang cave complex in June 2018 when they were trapped by rapidly rising floodwaters. 

A massive search and rescue operation involving international divers was launched.

The boys spent nine nights lost in the cave, living on very little food and water, before a diver spotted them deep in the twisting cave complex huddled on a patch of dirt above the rising water line. 

Dom's favourite Nike trainers and a colourful t-shirt were laid on the ground below his photograph and dozens of bunches of flowers at Thursday's ceremony (pictured)

Dom’s favourite Nike trainers and a colourful t-shirt were laid on the ground below his photograph and dozens of bunches of flowers at Thursday’s ceremony (pictured)

Pictured: Friends and ex-teammates of Dom's queue to light candles at Thursday's ceremony

Pictured: Friends and ex-teammates of Dom’s queue to light candles at Thursday’s ceremony

Pictured: Buddhist monks are seen along with Dom's friends at the ceremony on Thursday

Pictured: Buddhist monks are seen along with Dom’s friends at the ceremony on Thursday

Duangpetch 'Dom' Promthep (pictured) died in the UK on Tuesday after he reportedly suffered a 'head injury' and was found unconscious in his dorm room over the weekend

Duangpetch ‘Dom’ Promthep (pictured) died in the UK on Tuesday after he reportedly suffered a ‘head injury’ and was found unconscious in his dorm room over the weekend

Promthep was filmed smiling at the camera carried by the rescue team after he and his team waited for 18 days in the darkness of the cave to be found and rescued

Promthep was filmed smiling at the camera carried by the rescue team after he and his team waited for 18 days in the darkness of the cave to be found and rescued

The moment was captured on video and soon broadcast to the world.

It was another eight days before all were safely rescued. A team of expert divers guided each of the boys out of the cave on special stretchers after anesthetizing them to keep them calm enough to transport. 

The operation required placing oxygen canisters along the path where the divers maneuvered through dark, tight and twisting passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.

The story of the Wild Boars, which was covered intensely by international media, has been retold in several movies, including Ron Howard’s 2022 feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ and the 2021 documentary ‘The Rescue.’

source: dailymail.co.uk