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Editorial: Cave rescue shows good comes when we cooperate

The rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand is proof that miracles do, indeed, happen.

And it’s a much needed win for a world grappling with so much angst over everything from North Korea and its nuclear weapons to immigration, trade wars and Russian aggression. More than that, it’s a reminder that nearly anything is possible if people will just work together for the common good.

The odds clearly were stacked against the dozen Wild Boars players – ranging in age from 11 to 16 – and their 25-year-old coach. Floods from monsoon rains trapped them deep inside a cave they had been exploring June 23, and it wasn’t until 10 days later a pair of British divers found them. But even then, the rescue effort was just beginning.

None of the boys had diving experience, and a former Thai Navy SEAL died while taking air canisters into the flooded cave. An army doctor and Navy SEAL members made the dangerous hourslong trek into the cave and stayed with the trapped boys for days as they waited to be rescued.

That wait lasted nearly a week as experts from around the world weighed the options with more monsoons fast approaching. In the meantime, thousands of gallons of water were being pumped from the labyrinth.

It then took Thai and international rescuers – including 13 foreign expert divers – three days to get the boys and coach out. Each one was guided by a pair of divers for four hours or more through the dangerous route, which in some places was just a crawl space. The world anxiously waited as the incredible rescue operation unfolded.

The final four boys and their coach were brought out safely by early Tuesday morning MST after 18 grueling days. And the world breathed a sigh of relief.

It’s a testament to humanity that people from around the world paused to worry about these kids and root for their rescue. And that volunteers – many with unique skill sets – from so many nations worked together to bring about this miracle.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.