Heavy rains keep Tham Luang caves closed for now
Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non National Park will remain closed until October 15 to prevent a repeat of the 2018 Wild Boar incident.
The national park has been closed since July 1 and was scheduled to reopen on October 1. However, national park chief Rungsaran Banluesakchai said heavy rains had flooded the Tham Luang Cave and Khun Nam Morakot Pond areas, making the areas dangerous for tourists.
“Hence, the national park will remain closed to visitors at least until October 15,” she said, adding that people can still contact the national park as usual.
In June 2018, the world was transfixed for 17 days as an elaborate international rescue mission unfolded after rising waters in the cave system trapped 12 members of the Wild Boars football team and their coach.
The 200-metre-deep Chamber 1, which leads into the cave complex, served as the command centre for a rescue operation led by Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn and the Thai Navy SEALs.
All 12 boys and their coach were rescued from the cave by an international team of divers between July 8 and 11.
The Wild Boars have since become celebrities, with their ordeal depicted in a series of films and documentaries.
Four years since the gripping rescue drama, the authorities have cemented the area in front of the cave and built a stairway leading into it.
A statue of Saman Kunan, a Royal Thai Navy SEAL member who died during the rescue operation and became the Tham Luang hero, has also been erected in front of the cave.
A car park and a tourist service centre with toilets have also been built nearby.