Ashes of Thai teen saved in flooded cave drama blessed upon return from UK
BANGKOK – The ashes of 17-year-old Duangpetch Promthep – one of 12 young members of the Wild Boars football team rescued from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai in 2018 – were given to his family at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on Saturday, after being blessed upon their return from England.
His mother, Ms Thanaporn Phromthep, and relatives journeyed from the northern province to receive the ashes of the young footballer who died at a football academy in England.
Zico Foundation chairman Kiatisuk Senamuang, a legendary Thai national striker and former team manager, brought Duangpetch’s ashes back from England on a Thai Airways flight that arrived in Bangkok on Saturday morning.
Duangpetch won a scholarship to study at Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire in August last year.
He was found unconscious in his dorm room on Feb 12 by a teacher and was taken to hospital. Two days later, the hospital reported that his breathing weakened and he was unresponsive.
The cause of Duangpetch’s death has not been disclosed, but it is not being treated as suspicious.
Following his death, his family appealed for his body to be returned to Thailand for a funeral.
However, due to financial reasons, the family requested that his body be cremated in the United Kingdom and for his ashes to be sent home.
The cremation took place in Leicester on Tuesday. The funeral service was attended by his friends, teachers, Mr Kiatisuk and Thai ambassador to the UK Thani Thongphakdi, among others.
Mr Kiatisuk told the media at the airport on Saturday that Zico Foundation and Brooke House College Football Academy followed the request of Duangpetch’s family to hold the cremation in the UK “so he can continue playing football there”.
At the airport, Phra Sopon Wachiraporn, assistant abbot of Bangkok’s Arun Ratchawararam Temple, performed a religious rite on the ashes’ container before the family brought it back home.
A prayer ceremony for Duangpetch’s ashes is scheduled for Sunday at Phra That Doi Wao Temple in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.
The ashes will be released into water in the province’s Chiang Saen district on Monday, family members said.