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Captain of Thai football team rescued from flooded cave took his own life at UK school

SINGAPORE: The captain of the Thai junior football team that was rescued from a flooded cave in 2018 took his own life at school in the United Kingdom earlier this year, a coroner has ruled.

Duangpetch “Dom” Promthep was 17 years old when he died in February. 

He was found unconscious in his dormitory room on Feb 12 and died in hospital two days later. The teenager was a student at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire.

British media reported on Friday (Oct 28) that following an inquest into his death, Professor Catherine Mason, senior coroner for Leicester city and south Leicestershire, recorded a conclusion of suicide.

“Mr Promthep was not known to mental health services, and it is not known why he took the actions that he did. It could not have been foreseen or prevented,” said the senior coroner, as quoted by the BBC.

“The police investigation has found no evidence of third-party involvement or suspicious circumstances.”

Duangpetch and the “Wild Boars” football team made global headlines in 2018 when he and his teammates became trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

A sudden storm flooded the cave, blocking their way out.

Thousands of volunteers, officials, divers and experts from around the world were involved in the search and rescue operation.

The 12 boys and their coach spent 17 days underground before they were found by British divers. 

Duangpetch was the boy who first shouted out to rescuers for help. He was 13 years old then.

After his death in the UK, Duangpetch’s family had appealed for help for his body to be returned to Thailand. However, due to financial reasons, he was cremated in Leicester.

His ashes were delivered to his parents in Bangkok on Mar 4 by Kiatisuk Senamuang, a former striker and head coach of Thailand’s national football team whose non-profit organisation helped Duangpetch obtain a scholarship to study in the UK.

He described Duangpetch as a polite, kind person who dreamt of playing for his country. In his tribute on Instagram earlier this year, he wrote: “I wanted to see his dream realised … but rest well now Dom.”

Duangpetch’s mother Thanaporn Promthep said: “Every day, I think of Dom and how he had always been a good boy. I can survive.”

Related:

Death of Thai boy rescued from cave: Mum appeals for help to bring body home from UK

Ashes of Thai footballer rescued from cave in 2018 return to family in Thailand

In a statement on Friday, Brooke House College’s principal Ian Smith said the college community “remains united in grief” with Duangpetch family, friends and former teammates.

“As a college, the health, well-being and welfare of our students is our absolute priority,” the principal said as reported by the BBC.

“Dom will always remain a part of the Brooke House family and will be hugely missed.”

Where to get help:

Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1767

Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222

Singapore Association for Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019

You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.

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