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Thai Cave Nightmare

Cartoon sketch of a trapeze artist hanging by their knees and reaching for a pair of hands coming up from the bottom left of the illustration. Cartoon by Earle Levenstein.

Oh my god…

Those poor kids.

The terror…


No way out…they're doomed….

Only a miracle could save those boys.

Then, Hope: volunteers, non-stop, experienced divers from everywhere who saw the challenge, who knew what needed to be done…and how. Each and every step, planned, precise, methodical. Day and night, sleep not an option; they had to be fearless, unintimidated, and every challenge was met, resolved, piece by piece, sequentially. Problem? Solution, start to finish.

Ready to go.

No advance notice, no details.

No interviews.

One single focus; the boys.

Then, action: first step, operation underway.


Then, ambulances lined up, loaded, speeding off.

Announcement: four are out…no names.

Following day: four more…no names.

Then the final four and the coach.

All resting in hospital, in isolation: tests, physicians, psychologists.

A universal sigh.

Success. Done.

Professionally handled, from beginning to end. Flawless. Not one false step, in timing, in action, in final detailed description. Awe-inspiring. As if this was just another issue to be dealt with when, in fact, this was the first time this group of public and private individuals had ever been confronted by a crisis of this magnitude, when one mistake, one false step would result in the death of twelve boys and their coach.


Beyond belief…incredible.

Intervention by the gods?

Miraculous! It's a miracle!

Then, a review: detailed drawings of the caves, the boys, two-and-a-half miles back. obstacles everywhere: ups and downs, some flooded, some terrifyingly narrow; conquered, one by one. Reaching the boys: how they were transported? Three separate groups, four boys in each group, a diver in front and a diver behind each boy; the boys masked, wrapped, a package, with four packages each cycle; hours in, hours out; delivered. Cycle one. Four boys.

A few hours of rest for the teams of divers, then another trip: exactly the same. Four more boys.

Then a third trip.

Done. All out; all hospitalized, all safe, all recovering, ready shortly to go home.

A miracle?

To me, absolutely.

But that was me; knowing absolutely nothing about caves, diving, masks, the works.

The divers were experts with years of experience; they knew the difference between difficult and impossible. e.g., the plane that took off from LaGuardia with 155 passengers: then came a flock of birds. The engines quit; there was no power, nowhere to land, but the pilot saw the Hudson River. Impossible. Needing a miracle.

The pilot a pro: an expert, with years of meeting challenges. He knew the difference between "difficult" and "impossible."

Perfect landing: not a single fatality.

Message to me from the big boss upstairs?

Before panicking; search for "Impossible challenge" and from that list pick someone who does your kind regularly.

If that doesn't work, search for "Miracle."

And while you're waiting for an answer, just give your "Impossible" one more shot.

Who knows?

Never say never.

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