The man in charge of the mission to save a youth football team trapped in a cave in Thailand has revealed the network will become a tourist attraction.
Narongsak Osottanakorn, who orchestrated the successful rescue of the ‘Wild Boars’ and their coach from the complex Tham Luang cave system in Chiang Rai this week, said on Wednesday the caves offered an opportunity to bring in tourists to the region.
The daring operation was carried out with the help of international rescue workers and ultimately resulted in the death of only one man – a Thai rescue diver on Friday last week.
In the aftermath of the famous rescue, Osottanakorn told reporters the site would ultimately be converted into a museum showcasing the clothes and equipment used during the mission.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn (right) said the caves would now be turned into a museum
Getting better: The boys were pictured together in a Thai hospital earlier this week after the successful rescue
‘Tourists will come visit,’ Osottanakorn said, ‘This area will become a living museum, to show how the operation unfolded.
‘An interactive data base will be set up. It will become another major attraction for Thailand.’
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) also said it planned to promote the Tham Luang cave as a tourist attraction after it featured so prominently in the news.
‘The cave has become of interest for both local and foreign travelers,’ Karuna Dechatiwong, TAT director in Chiang Rai province, told gathered media this week.
But Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday extra precautions would have be implemented both inside and outside the cave to safeguard tourists.
‘In future, we have to monitor the entrance and exit to the cave. This cave has become world famous … we have to install more lights inside the cave and put up signs,’ Prayuth told reporters in Bangkok.
‘It’s a dangerous cave,’ said Prayuth, adding that the cave would be closed to the public for a while until ‘everything is in order’.
The story made headlines and captured the attention of billions round the world – and Hollywood has already registered an interest in making a movie out of the tale.
Thai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to the flooded cave complex during the rescue mission to get the 12 boys and their coach out
Another part of the video shows the team carrying one of the boys while the pipes used to pump out water are seen in the background
One American film maker who was on the scene of the remarkable rescue has already announced plans to adapt it for the big screen.
Michael Scott, the CEO and co-founder of Pure Flix Entertainment, was assisting in rescue efforts at the foothills of the Tham Luang mountain cave systems in Chiang Rai, as he lives in Thailand part-time.
And Scott said he believes the story is ripe for movie adaptation.
‘We realised that this would make an incredibly inspiring movie,’ Mr Scott said.
‘Like a lot of people, we know there’s not a lot of positive news in the world today.’
Mr Scott said he feels a personal connection with the story, as his wife is Thai and he was spending the summer in Bangkok when the football team went missing.
He and fellow producer Adam Smith recently travelled to the area around the cave in northern Thailand, and they have begun talking to some of the participants about their ‘life rights’.
But they also stressed that they are not yet pursuing most of the families of the boys, who on Wednesday remained recuperating in hospital.
‘For us it’s not a huge race,’ said Mr Smith. ‘It’s about making sure we get the authenticity right.’
The world watched with gripped attention as 12 young boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a water logged cave in Thailand for weeks
Michael Scott confirmed Tuesday that his company will adapt the team’s story into a movie
Two British divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, who were the first to reach the 12 boys and their coach inside the Luang Nang Non Cave