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Buddhist Memorial Service Held in Thailand for Rescued Cave Boy Who Died in England

Duangpetch Promthep in 2018. From

Grieving family members, friends, and former Wild Boars teammates of Duangphet Promthep, a young survivor of the Thai Cave rescue of 2018, gathered at Wat Phra That Doi Wao, a Buddhist monastery in Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province, on 16 February for a memorial ceremony dedicated to the youth who died unexpectedly in the UK on 14 February.

The 17-year-old, popularly known by his nickname Dom, was one of 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 after being trapped for more than two weeks. According to a BBC News report, Dom was found unconscious in his school dormitory in Leicestershire, England, on 12 February. He was taken to hospital, where he died on 14 February. An inquest into his death has been conducted, although the results have yet to be made public.

Dom was undertaking a “dream” scholarship to study and play football in the UK, and had enrolled at Brook House College Football College in the English city of Leicester. Before moving to the UK, he had attended Vachiralai Bee School in the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai. Dom was an ardent football lover and had been captain of the local Wild Boars youth football team.

Dom’s parents attended the memorial service earlier this week, solemnly presenting photos, clothes, and shoes of their son as his body had not yet been repatriated from England.

Dom’s mother prays for her deceased son. From
Buddhist rites were held at Wat Phra That Doi Wao in Chiang Rai. From

A colorful t-shirt and Dom’s favorite Nike sneakers were placed next to a photo portrait and numerous bouquets of flowers. Those assembled offered a Buddhist prayer asking for Dom’s spirit to “come back home.” (Mail Online)

“Everyone was devastated when they heard the news of Duangphet’s passing,” said monastery abbot Phra Kru Prayut Jetiyanukarn. “He was only 17 years old. It’s been hard on his parents and friends. It had always been his dream since he was little to travel abroad and play football.” (Mail Online)

According to media reports, the cause of Dom’s death was unclear, but reports in Thailand suggested that he had suffered a head injury.

“I am grateful for Dom’s friends. They have always loved and cared for each other dearly,” said Dom’s mother Thanaporn. “It’s been hard for us to sleep. We woke up at 2 a.m. and prepared the food and incense for the monks.” (Mail Online)

Dom’s friends from the Wild Boars football team have decided to assist in returning his body to Thailand so that the appropriate Buddhist funeral rites can be performed. His family also wants his remains returned home so he can receive a traditional northern Thai-style funeral.

Dom’s favorite sport shoes and a t-shirt were displayed at the memorial ceremony. From

“You told me to wait and see you play for the national team, I always believe that you would do it,” said Prachak Sutham, one of the boys who was rescued with Dom in 2018. “When we met the last time before you left for England, I even jokingly told you that when you come back, I would have to ask for your autograph. Sleep well, my dear friend. We will always have 13 of us together.” (BBC News)

In August last year, Dom announced that he had won a scholarship to attend Brooke House College Football School in Market Harborough. “Now my wish has come true,” Dom posted on Instagram. He stated that it was “an important moment” in his life. (The New York Times)

“We unite in grief with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates, and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family,” Brooke House College Football School said in a public statement. (BBC News)

Ian Smith, the school’s principal, noted that everyone at the college was “deeply saddened and shaken” by Dom’s death. Mark Gooding, the British ambassador to Thailand, also expressed “his condolences to all his friends and family” on social media. (BBC News)

Dave Thomas, deputy head of mission at the British embassy in Thailand, poses with Dom. From

See more

Thai Soccer Player Who Survived Cave Flooding Dies at 17 (The New York Times)
Thai cave rescue: Duangpetch Promthep, Wild Boars captain, dies in UK (BBC News)
Thai cave rescue: Duangpetch Promthep inquest opens in UK (BBC News)
Wild Boars reunited in grief: Heartbroken ex teammates of Thai cave survivor who died aged 17 in Britain after ‘sustaining head injury’ join family for Buddhist memorial (Mail Online)

Related news reports from BDG

Thai Cave Boys Complete Nine Day Ordination as Novice Monks
Thai Cave Boys and Coach to Enter Monkhood in Honor of Fallen Diver
Amid Relief Over Thai Cave Rescue, Reports Suggest Buddhist Meditation Helped Trapped Boys Survive their Ordeal

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