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Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Visits Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang Cave

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CHIANG RAI – Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has visited Tham Luang Nang Non cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped inside earlier this year, which led to the historic rescue mission that involved a team of more than 10,000, including rescue divers and experts from around the world.

Australia was one of several countries that assisted the rescue operation at the Tham Luang cave complex in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province.

While in Thailand on an official visit, Minister Dutton and members of the Australian delegation went to the site of the cave on Friday. The Thai government is keen to turn the cave complex into a tourist attraction. Still inside the cave many signs of the successful rescue remain, including equipment such as wires and pipes.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has landscaped the area around the cave to accommodate tourists during the 46th Chiang Rai Games to be held November 18-23.

Meanwhile, a religious ceremony has been held in Ayutthaya to mark the beginning of the construction of the statue of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Saman Kunan or ‘Ja Sam’ who lost his life during the historic Tham Luang rescue mission.

A national artist, Mr. Chaloemchai Kositpipat , and the wife of the late diver, Mrs. Waleeporn Kunan , attended the ceremony at Asia Fine Art Foundry.

The statue of Ja Sam will be paraded through the municipality of Chiang Rai province to commemorate his heroic role before it is placed in front of Tham Luang cave.

The statue will be delivered to Wat Rong Khun Temple, Chiang Rai province, on the night of December 12th.

The foundry owner will cover all construction and transportation expenses which are estimated at 4 million baht. Mrs. Waleeporn said she was grateful and proud to see the statute of her late husband.

By Thammarat Thadaphrom