Thai Cave Rescue ending explained: Who dies in the Tham Luang cave rescue?

Thai Cave Rescue retells the real story of a harrowing cave entrapment of thirteen young lives and their excruciating and brave rescue over the course of over two weeks.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot Summary

A local junior football team in Chiang Rai province called “The Wild Boars” have plans to explore the Pla cave following their practice session.

However, the Pla cave is not open, so the boys make changes to their plans and head out to explore the Tham Luang Cave instead. Eak, their assistant coach, agrees to lead them all to the cave after the unanimous decision from the boys.

Wandering and wondering in their bliss of ignorance for what awaits, the boys all have a good time but soon confront a danger none of them saw coming. Due to the sudden and early monsoon rains, the cave starts flooding, forcing the football team to retreat further into the cave.

The head coach of the team, the parents, forest ranger Pim, and soon, the authorities — all become aware of the grave predicament before them.

Vern Unsworth, a British caver who lives in Chiang Rai and has extensive knowledge of the cave complex, arrives to help and lend his expertise in the rescue effort. He advises the governor to call in British cave divers as they’d be the best experts for the job.

Richard Stanton and John Volanthen arrive after an excruciating effort spanning several days, and finally, find the boys alive in chamber 9.

However, the problems for the rescue effort only increase and worsen with one horrific turn of events after another. A Thai-American hydraulic engineer Kelly arrives at the scene and warns the governor of the drastically increasing water levels.

To mitigate this new crisis, Kelly and park ranger Pim begin their subsidiary efforts to divert the water from going into the caves. After initial failures, they find an aquifer not too distant from the cave complex — a solution that can be used to pump water out of the cave.

However, the situation at the cave continues to worsen. Amid all the worries and prayers of the horrified parents, the British diver team is soon aided by helping hands from all across the world.

Rescue efforts face a grim halt when a former Royal Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan dies due to a lack of oxygen. Soon, the efforts commence once again.

A crucial addition to the rescue mission, the Australian duo of cave divers Richard Harris and Craig Challen arrive at the cave. Harris decides to administer ketamine doses to all the survivors since they could pose threat to themselves and the divers by freaking out while conscious.

After much difficulty from parents who have to make a hard decision signing their children’s lives away, the final phase of the Thai cave rescue effort is launched and Harris leads the way.

One by one, every kid is rescued, along with the assistant coach Eak, and taken to medical care immediately, as the parents, the rescuers, the authorities, the nation, and the whole world — all take a sigh of relief and rejoice at the successful rescue.

Thai Cave Rescue ending explained in detail:

How did Saman Gunan die?

Although the odds of successfully rescuing all the lives stuck inside the Tham Luang cave are incredibly stacked against them, the divers from across the globe succeed in pulling each one of the football team members and the assistant coach out of the harrowing cave system alive.

Not a single life belonging to The Wild Boars is lost during the rescue.

The tragedy strikes not The Wild Boars but Saman Gunan — a former Royal Thai Navy SEAL, who was part of the oxygen supply effort during the rescue.

During one of the routine dives to the inside chambers to deliver oxygen, Ja Sam’s own oxygen supply is insufficient on the way back and he dies as a result of it.

His death in the Thai Cave Rescue series provides an impactful jolt for the characters and their motivations.

Who saved the boys?

The Thai Cave Rescue at Tham Luang cave complex was a collective effort wherein each and everyone played an important part in the successful mission.

Whether it be the Navy SEALS or the cave divers and experts from all across the globe — many goodwill people had to endure physically and mentally draining efforts in order to rescue all the precious lives out of the treacherous and perilous caves system.

How many rescuers died?

In Netflix’s Thai Cave Rescue, Saman Gunan’s death is portrayed as one of the tragic and morale-crusher events during the rescue efforts at Tham Luang.

Saman Gunan died on his way back from a diving trip he made to the inside chambers where he was supposed to deliver the oxygen. Due to insufficient levels of his own oxygen supply, Saman Gunan passed away on his way back.

However, related to the real-life events that Thai Cave Rescue is inspired by, there were a total of two deaths during and post-rescue.

The second victim of the rescue effort was another Thai Navy SEAL, Beirut Pakbara (likely portrayed by the character of Baitoy in the Netflix series).

Pakbara lost his life a year later after the rescue, due to a blood infection he had contracted during his time with the boys inside chamber 9. The Netflix limited series skips mentioning this death for some reason.

Did all the boys survive?

All The Wild Boars football team members, along with their assistant coach Ekkaphon, survived the incredibly harrowing ordeal and got rescued out of the flooded cave successfully.

There were a number of logistical and medical hurdles during the rescue but the expert divers and their tenacity finally beat the odds and got all thirteen boys out of the Tham Luang cave complex.

How many days did it take to rescue everyone?

The Thai cave rescue effort spanned a whopping 18 days.

A slew of climate changes and the treacherous terrain presenting one challenge after another made it near impossible for the divers and the wider rescue effort to save the lives.

However, after a series of changes and improvisations to the plans, British cave divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, Australian cave divers Richard Harris and Craig Challen, along with other members of the international cave diving team, poured all their efforts into the rescue, ultimately succeeding in saving the thirteen lives.

The thirteen international cave divers were also assisted by Thai Navy SEALS in the rescue efforts.

What did they use to sedate the boys?

Australian cave diver and anaesthetist Richard Harris decided to sedate the boys during the rescue dive out of the cave complex.

Harris’s reasoning for doing so was that the boys would have freaked out and posed a threat to everyone involved otherwise. An unconscious state would allow them to be escorted out peacefully and without any struggle or added risk.

To sedate the boys, Harris used Ketamine and Xanax (a muscle relaxant). In real life, Harris also used a saliva suppressant called Atropine.

Also Read: Broad Peak ending explained: What happened to Maciej?

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