EDITORIAL | Thai rescue renews faith in humanity

The extraordinary rescue of the young Thai soccer team trapped in a flooded cave was a minute-by-minute race against time that gripped the globe for more than two weeks – with a mercifully heartwarming and joyous outcome.

In a world where there is so little good news to report on and where perilous predicaments often don’t work out for the best, here was a human drama that brought out the empathy in nations which rallied around the Thai authorities to launch a superhuman effort.

Thai Seals and expert foreign divers who managed to finally extract the 12 boys and their coach risked their lives in treacherous circumstances – an element of the mission which gut-wrenchingly hit home when one of these elite and brave rescuers lost his life.

It was reminiscent of the 2010 Chilean mining accident when a multinational operation resulted in the extrication of 33 men, trapped 700m underground, after 69 days.

Similarly, the world watched as they were winched to the surface one at a time.

However, in the case of the remarkable feat at the Tham Luang cave, where those stranded were as young as 11 and where the strategy to remove them entailed extreme hazards with the clock ticking, the stakes seemed so much higher.

Stories of such heroism and willingness to sacrifice among those who did not hesitate to help are what reinforce our belief in the fundamental goodwill of men and women towards each other.

It is something of a paradox when you consider the global migration crisis which has caused so much pain, death and despair among hundreds of thousands of displaced citizens fleeing conflict zones. World leaders must grapple with that tyranny which has given rise to what, for many of those affected, must feel like a similar sense of entrapment with no possible way out.

But if the Thai cave miracle has taught us something, it is that compassion and courage are far from dead – and that should at least give us a little more faith in humanity when we are often given reason to believe that they may well be endangered qualities.