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A youth football team and their coach were recently trapped inside a Thai cave. The boys, aged 12-17, and their coach, aged 25, went on a hike to celebrate their teammate’s birthday. The group had done this same trek into the cave many times before but this time things went awry.

Heavy rain caused the entrance to become flooded and obstructed by water. The group managed to find a ledge just above the water to use as a shelter. They used rocks to dig 5m deeper into the ledge, creating a small cavern for themselves. The boys had not planned to be in the cave for more than an hour and consequently, had no food. Luckily though, they had clean water from the dripping cave walls to drink.

When the boys didn’t return from their outing, the national police, Thai Navy Seals and other rescue teams began their search. Inside the cave, the boys’ coach used his former experience as a monk to keep the group’s sanity. He taught the boys meditation techniques to stay calm and to use as little air as possible.

Nine days later, two British divers finally found the group. In simple English, the divers told the group they would come back soon with help. Luckily, one of the boys knew a little English and could translate. He asked the divers to bring food and asked what day it was. The divers told them they had been there for 9 days and that they were very strong. Outside the cave, the families rejoiced that the whole group was alive.

Now, it was time to plan the rescue. People from all over the world came to offer their help.

The path to the boys through the cave was incredibly difficult, even for experienced divers. A former Navy Seal diver by the name of Saman Gunan who had volunteered to help these boys unfortunately died while delivering oxygen tanks to them. He ran out of oxygen on his return trip and lost consciousness. He was 38 years old.

Diver Ben Reymenants is quoted as describing the situation saying, “Time is not on our side because they’re expecting heavy rains within three days.” After days of struggling to find the best plan for rescue, there was now a time limit. The boys needed to be rescued before a storm caused the water levels to rise again.

It took 3 days to get the entire group out and the last day was the day before the impending storm, cutting it very close. Nearly 100 Thai and foreign divers came to the boys aid and helped in their rescue. They had been in the cave 17 days in total. People all over the world celebrated that they were all finally out and safe.

The boys have recently been quoted as saying when they grow up, they’d all like to become Thai Navy Seals one day.

Difficult words

Trek: A long journey, usually on foot.

Awry: Something gone wrong or unexpected.

Obstruct: To be blocked, unable to go through.

Cavern: A cave or chamber of a cave.

Sanity: Thinking normally.

Meditation: A technique used to think calmly and clearly.

Consciousness: To be awake and alert.

Impending: Something about to happen soon.

Cutting it close: Happening soon before something else.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Trek A. Gone wrong.
2. Awry B. Cave
3. Obstruct C. Thinking clearly technique
4. Cavern D. Awake
5. Sanity E.  Hike
6. Meditation F. Soon before
7. Consciousness G. Block
8. Impending H. Sound mind
9. Cutting it close I.  Approaching

True or False?

1. A youth basketball team and their coach got trapped in a cave.  T / F

2.  The cave was located in Southeast  Asia. T / F

3. The boys were all less than 20 years old and the coach was 25. T / F

4. Large rocks obstructed the entrance to the cave. T / F

5.  Two Irish divers found the group. T / F

6.  The group had water but no food. T / F

7. One of the young boys had monk training. T / F

8.   People from all over the world came to the group’s aid. T / F

9.  The rescue teams had as much time as they needed to plan the rescue. T / F

10. The boys would like to become Thai Navy Seals one day. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. to / flooded / entrance / caused / become / rain / Heavy / the

2. They / deeper / 5m / ledge / used / into / dig / to / the / rocks

3. techniques / meditation / to / calm / taught / the / stay / boys / He

4. plan / rescue / Now, / time / to / the / was / it

5. had / days / total / cave / the / in / been / They / in / 17

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Ledge Heavy Monk
Quoted Divers  Trapped
Foreign  Translate  Unfortunately

A youth football team and their coach were recently __________ inside a Thai cave. The boys, aged 12-17, and their coach, aged 25, went on a hike to celebrate their teammate’s birthday. The group had done this same trek into the cave many times before but this time things went awry.

Heavy rain caused the entrance to become flooded and obstructed by water. The group managed to find a ledge just above the water to use as a shelter. They used rocks to dig 5m deeper into the _________, creating a small cavern for themselves. The boys had not planned to be in the cave for more than an hour and consequently, had no food. Luckily though, they had clean water from the dripping cave walls to drink.

When the boys didn’t return from their outing, the national police, Thai Nay Seals and other rescue teams began their search. Inside the cave, the boys’ coach used his former experience as a ________  to keep the group’s sanity. He taught the boys meditation techniques to stay calm and to use as little air as possible.

Nine days later, two British divers finally found the group. In simple English, the _________ told the group they would come back soon with help. Luckily, one of the boys knew a little English and could ____________. He asked the divers to bring food and asked what day it was. The divers told them they had been there for 9 days and that they were very strong. Outside the cave, the families rejoiced that the whole group was alive.

Now, it was time to plan the rescue. People from all over the world came to offer their help.

The path to the boys through the cave was incredibly difficult, even for experienced divers. A former Navy Seal diver by the name of Saman Gunan who had volunteered to help these boys ________________ died while delivering oxygen tanks to them. He ran out of oxygen on his return trip and lost consciousness. He was 38 years old.

Diver Ben Reymenants is quoted as describing the situation saying, “Time is not on our side because they’re expecting __________ rains within three days.” After days of struggling to find the best plan for rescue, there was now a time limit. The boys needed to be rescued before a storm caused the water levels to rise again.

It took 3 days to get the entire group out and the last day was the day before the impending storm, cutting it very close. Nearly 100 Thai and ____________ divers came to the boys aid and helped in their rescue. They had been in the cave 17 days in total. People all over the world celebrated that they were all finally out and safe.

The boys have recently been _____________ as saying when they grow up, they’d all like to become Thai Navy Seals one day.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Did you hear about this story before reading this article?
4. Have you ever been to Thailand?
5. Have you ever been inside of a cave?
6. Where do you think is the worst place to be trapped?
7. Do you know any search and rescue stories from your country?
8. What is a dangerous part of your country?
9. Have you ever been scuba diving?
10. Has your government reacted well in times of crisis?
11. What is the worst thing about being trapped in a cave for 17 days?
12. Do you have any skills that could help in a particular crisis?
13. What would you do to pass the time while trapped in a cave?
14. If you could choose a group of people to be trapped with, who would you choose?
15. Should the rescuers be rewarded in any way?
16. Should the coach be punished for taking the children?
17. Do you do any dangerous outdoor activities for fun?
18. Is flooding an issue in your country?
19. What’s the biggest threat from natural disaster in your country?
20. Is there anything you would like to ask the boys or coach that we’re trapped in the cave?