Wild Boars captain took his life, UK inquest concludes

Wild Boars captain took his life, UK inquest concludes

Death of boy who was part of dramatic cave rescue ‘could not have been foreseen or prevented’

Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, captain of young Wild Boars football team rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai in 2018, died in the UK in February. (Photo: Supatpong Methigo Facebook)
Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, captain of young Wild Boars football team rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai in 2018, died in the UK in February. (Photo: Supatpong Methigo Facebook)

The captain of the young “Wild Boars” football team that was dramatically rescued from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai in 2018 took his own life while at a school in England, a UK coroner’s inquest has concluded.

Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, 17, was found unconscious at Brooke House College in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, on Feb 12. He died two days later at Kettering General Hospital.

Prof Catherine Mason, senior coroner for south Leicestershire, recorded a conclusion of suicide following an inquest on Oct 4, British media reported on Friday.

In a record of the inquest seen by the British news agency PA, Prof Mason said Duangphet “was not known to mental health services, and it is not known why he took the actions that he did.

“It could not have been foreseen or prevented,” she wrote of the death. “The police investigation has found no evidence of third-party involvement or suspicious circumstances.”

The sudden death of Duangphet came as a shock to his family and friends. At the time, the cause of death was not known.

His ashes were returned to his grieving family in Thailand on March 4 following his cremation in England.

In a statement released on Friday, Ian Smith, the principal of Brooke House College, said its community “remains united in grief” over the death and that Duangphet would be “hugely missed”.

“As a college, the health, wellbeing and welfare of our students is our absolute priority. … The coroner also acknowledged the entire college community for the high quality of our student care, welfare and safeguarding and noted this tragic incident sadly could not have been foreseen nor prevented,” the statement said.

Duangphet was the captain of the football team whose rescue from the flooded cave captured the attention of the world in 2018. He won a scholarship to study at the football academy in Leicestershire in August last year.

In June and July 2018, Thai and international rescue teams mounted an operation to rescue 12 local footballers aged between 11 and 16 and their 25-year-old coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.

They became trapped after they went to explore the underground complex on June 23 after football practice.

They were unable to leave when a sudden storm flooded the cave and spent 17 days underground before being found by two British divers.

Duangphet was the boy who first shouted out to the rescuers for help. He was then 13. A complex and dangerous rescue followed. One Thai rescuer died in the operation.

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