17-Year-Old Soccer Player Who Was Famously Rescued from Thai Cave Dies in UK

One of 12 boys who gained worldwide fame in a dramatic rescue from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 died unexpectedly in the U.K. this week, according to news reports.

Duangpetch Promthep, 17, was found unresponsive Sunday, according to the BBC.

He was hospitalized until Tuesday, when he reportedly passed away.

Promthep had been attending a soccer academy in Leicestershire.

Some media outlets, including the New York Times, said Promthep’s cause of death was “unclear,” but others, including the South China Morning Post, reported the boy had suffered a head injury “after falling on the ground.”

Promthep was 12 when he, his 11 soccer teammates and their coach became trapped in an underground cave nearly five years ago, the Times reported.

The cave’s entrance became flooded by heavy rain, blocking their escape, according to the BBC.

Divers discovered them nine days after they went missing, but it took several more days before a team of rescuers was able to get them all safely out.

Promthep turned 13 during the ordeal, the BBC reported.

Media from all over the world covered the harrowing extraction. Books and movies followed, including the 2022 film “Thirteen Lives” starring Colin Farrell, a National Geographic documentary on Disney+ and a six-part miniseries on Netflix.

Mark Gooding, Britain’s ambassador to Thailand, was among many that expressed shock and shared condolences on social media, the BBC reported.

Promthep had been overjoyed at receiving the scholarship to the soccer academy. “Today my dream has come true,” he wrote on social media last August, according to the BBC.

“His Instagram account is filled with posts on the sport, often accompanied with the hashtag #footballismylife,” the news outlet reported.

Many remarked at the sad irony that he overcame the very slim odds to survive the cave drama, only to pass away a handful of years later.

Vernon Unsworth, one of the international team of cave rescuers, lamented the young man’s death.

β€œThe sad thing is he was given the opportunity he wanted in life and now his life is suddenly been taken away at a very young age,” Unsworth told the Times. “Life is very cruel.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.