From award-winning ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman, and written using exclusive interviews and information comes the definitive account of the dramatic story that gripped the world: the miracle rescue of twelve boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave miles underground for nearly three weeks—a pulse-pounding page-turner by a reporter who was there every step of their journey out.
After a practice in June 2018, a Thai soccer coach took a dozen of his young players to explore a famous but flood-prone cave. It was one of the boys’ birthday, but neither he nor the dozen resurfaced. Worried parents and rescuers flocked to the mouth of a cave that seemed to have swallowed the boys without a trace. Ranging in age from eleven to sixteen, the boys were all members of the Wild Boars soccer team. When water unexpectedly inundated the cave, blocking their escape, they retreated deeper inside, taking shelter in a side cavern. While the world feared them dead, the thirteen young souls survived by licking the condensation off the cave’s walls, meditating, and huddling together for warmth.
In this thrilling account, ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman recounts this amazing story in depth and from every angle, exploring their time in the cave, the failed plans and human mistakes that nearly doomed them, and the daring mission that ultimately saved them. Gutman introduces the elite team of volunteer divers who risked death to execute a plan so risky that its American planners admitted, “for us, success would have meant getting just one boy out alive.” He takes you inside the meetings where life and death decisions were grimly made and describes how these heroes pulled off an improbable rescue under immense pressure, with the boys’ desperate parents and the entire world watching. One of the largest rescues in history was in doubt until the very last moment.
Matt Gutman covered the story intensively, went deep inside the caves himself, and interviewed dozens of rescuers, experts and eye-witnessed around the world. The result is this pulse-pounding page-turner that vividly recreates this extraordinary event in all its intensity—and documents the ingenuity and sacrifice it took to succeed.
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About the Author
Matt Gutman is the Chief National Correspondent for ABC News, and the host of the Saturday morning show Sea Rescue. A veteran journalist once held captive on the job, he has spent part of his career researching and reporting on human survival against impossible odds. He lives in Los Angeles with his family. The Boys in the Cave is his first book.
Table of Contents
Tham Luang Cave Complex Map ix
1 The Moo Pa 11
2 Some Birthday 21
3 "How can I sleep when my son is inside?" 33
4 Retreat 46
5 "You have one last chance, or the boys will die" 66
6 The Foreigners 88
7 The Shadow Quartet 111
8 Jungle Bash 127
9 Contact 145
10 Suicide Mission 163
11 The Zero-Risk Option 183
12 Letters Home 210
13 The Wet Mulles 227
14 Sticking Your Neck Out 247
15 Getting the Green Light? 263
16 D-Day 277
17 Like an Egg in a Rock 304
18 A Few Shots of Ketamine 322
19 The Complacency Gap 348
20 Lost 366
21 "Life Celebration Party" 395
Figures Mentioned in The Boys in the Cave 423
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As with most of the world, I was absolutely captivated by the story of the Thailand cave rescue last year, and this book didn't disappoint in terms of filling in the details and leaving me with even more respect and admiration for everyone involved in the rescue and what they managed to pull off. And likewise, for the strength of the boys and their coach for enduring what they did and having so much grace and humility given their sudden thrust into the spotlight. A fascinating and gripping read, I ate up every word, and am grateful to the author for putting together this account of the events so quickly.