Thai cave boy’s ashes scattered at river after his death at football academy
The ashes of one of the 12 young Thai footballers rescued from a flooded cave in 2018 were released into the Mekong River in a ceremony watched by family and friends.
Duangphet Phromthep, 17, died last month at a football academy in England.
His ashes were placed in a small boat along with footballs and some of his prized possessions after his body was cremated in a Buddhist ceremony in England in accordance with his family’s wishes.
Phra Khru Prayut Chetiyanukarn, abbot of the province’s Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple who led the Buddhist funeral procession, said the location is where people often scatter the ashes of their family members.
He said the Golden Triangle “is believed to contain a Naga that helps protect and takes care (of the dead) for us”.
Nagas are serpent-like mystical creatures revered according to Thai Buddhist beliefs.
Duangphet, known as Dom, was found unconscious in his room on February 12 at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire and died in hospital two days later.
The cause of death has not been released to the public by coroners, but police said it was not believed to be suspicious.
Buddhist prayer sessions for Duangphet took place over the weekend at Wat Phra That Doi Wao in his hometown of Chiang Rai after his ashes arrived from Britain on Sunday.
The temple is less than six miles from Tham Luang cave, where Duangphet and 11 of his Wild Boar football teammates and their coach were trapped for more than two weeks before being safely guided out by expert cave divers in a miraculous effort which captured global interest.
Adul Sam-on, a former teammate who was trapped with him in 2018, arrived in Chiang Rai on Monday from New York, where he is studying, to say his final goodbyes.
“Even though today was the last day of the ceremony, I’m happy I made it,” Adul said. “We were so close. We were just like brothers.”
Duangphet was described by his friends and coaches as a talented and determined player.
“He was so good at football both technically and mentally,” said Anucha Ratchacote, 17, a former teammate of Duangphet at Vachiralai Bee School in Chiang Mai.
“He wanted to play for the national team and I think he was good enough.”