Friends and family of Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep one of the Wild Boars football players rescued from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai Thailand bid farewell to him Saturday. Dom died in England last month of undetermined circumstances.
Monks chanted Buddhist prayers, while family and friends remembered him as a natural leader with a promising life.
The shrine for Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep was adorned with 17 soccer balls, one for each years of his life.
On Saturday night, monks chanted prayers for Duangphet at Wat Phra That Doi Wao in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, a temple less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Tham Luang Cave, where he and his 11 teammates and coach had been trapped for more than two weeks before being safely guided out by a team of expert divers in a miraculous rescue that drew worldwide attention.
“He was able to play football. He wanted to travel abroad, and he got it. “Thank you for the chances that allowed him to live out his ambitions,” Thanaporn Phromthep, his mother, said. “Dom was a laid-back child. He ate and lived simply. He was easygoing and didn’t take himself too seriously. He passed away quietly.”
On February 12, Duangphet was discovered unresponsive in his room at the Brooke House College Football School in Leicestershire, where he was on scholarship, and died two days later in a hospital.
In the United Kingdom, his body was cremated earlier this week. His cremated remains landed in the far northern province of Chiang Rai on Saturday morning, where burial rites will be held over the next few days.
When his grandparents were handed a little box holding his ashes at the Chiang Rai airport, they erupted into tears. Ekapol Chanthawong, his former coach who was also trapped in the cave with him, holding a huge portrait of his former student.
“He had a passion for football and was very focused and motivated,” said Nopparat Khanthavong, Duangphet’s head coach while he was a member and captain of the Chiang Rai Wild Boars youth soccer team.
“He was a natural leader,” stated Nopparat. “He was diligent in training and set a good example for his peers and the younger lads… He went on tryouts and was awarded a scholarship to study in England, which was his final destination.”
“That was his desire to play football overseas,” Nopparat explained.
On Friday, the ashes of the 17-year-old “Wild Boars,” football player who died unexpectedly while studying in England have been returned to his grieving family that reside in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai. Their son Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep was one of 12 footballers rescued from the Tham Luang cave that garnered world attention in 2018.
Mr. Kiatisuk “Zico” Senamuang, the head of the Zico Foundation, transported Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep’s ashes on a Thai Airlines flight that landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok yesterday.
Before the ashes were given to Thanaporn Phromthep, Duangphet’s mother, and other family members who had travelled from their home in the Chiang Rai, Phra Sophon Varichaporn, assistant abbot of Wat Arun Ratchawararm, conducted a religious ceremony in the arrivals hall.
Duangphet, a teenage football player whose escape from a cave in Chiang Rai captured the attention of the entire world, was discovered unresponsive in his dorm room in England on February 12 and passed away two days later in the hospital. No reason for the death was offered, and it wasn’t considered suspicious.
The Zico Foundation and the football academy, according to Mr. Kiatisuk, carried out Duangphet’s family’s request to have the body cremated in England.
The head of the Zico Foundation expressed gratitude to the Leicester City Football Club and the Thai embassy in England for helping with the cremation and religious rites. The cremation took place on February 28 after the foundation held the funeral procedures at Burton-on-Wat Trent’s Mahathat from February 16 to 18.
Ms. Thanaporn thanked the former national coach inconsolably for helping her bring her son’s ashes back. Over the weekend, she and her family intend to perform religious rites in the Lanna tradition