Duangphet Phromthep, the captain of the Wild Boars youth soccer team that was trapped in, and rescued from, a flooded cave in the Thai province of Chiang Rai in 2018, died Sunday at a UK hospital. He was 17.
His death was announced by both British and Thai officials, with Leicestershire Police telling CNN that Phromthep was rushed to a hospital following an accident, an account confirmed by the northern regional branch of the Thai government’s public relations arm. Details of the accident have not been disclosed.
Phromthep, known to friends as Dom, was enrolled in a soccer academy in Leicestershire, England. He was one of 12 boys who, along with their adult assistant coach, was rescued from a flooded Thai cave after a three-week rescue operation in the summer of 2018. The story of the rescue, which captured international headlines and public attention, has been depicted in various movies, TV shows and documentaries, most notably Thirteen Lives, the 2022 feature film directed by Ron Howard and starring Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton.
One of Phromthep’s former teammates and fellow cave survivor Prajak Sutham posted a tribute to his friend on Facebook, which translated reads: “We have been through together a lot, good and bad times. We had went through life and death situations together, when you told me to wait and see the time you became a national player. I always believed that you could do it. Last time we met before you left to UK, I jokingly told you that, when you’re back I would ask for your signature. Rest in Peace Bro, we always have each other, the 13 of us.”
Sutham later posted, “Waited all day hoping for a miracle, but there is no miracle…Rest in peace, brother. We will meet again in the next life. You will be in my heart forever.”
Phromthep had been attending Brooke House College on a soccer scholarship from the Thai non-profit organization Zico Foundation. In a statement, the college said that Phromthep’s death “has left our college community deeply saddened and shaken.”
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.