Thai Cave Rescue

In 2018, 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach became trapped in a flooded cave system. A global rescue effort involving thousands of volunteers and experts was launched. Against all odds, all 13 were rescued alive, their ordeal captivating the world.  

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes played a crucial role in the rescue operation. These pipes were used to pump water out of the cave system and maintain clean air for the trapped individuals. To address the rising water levels, divers and rescue teams used HDPE pipes to divert water away from the chambers where the boys were trapped. Pumps were strategically placed at different points along the cave’s route, and the pipes were used to transport the water from inside the cave to outside.

The pipes also played a critical role in maintaining air pockets within the cave chambers. As the water level rose, it threatened to reduce the available air space. The pipes were used to provide a continuous supply of fresh air to the trapped individuals, helping to ensure they had enough oxygen to survive.  Xylem, a water services provider, provided critical expertise in decreasing water levels and providing air for the trapped boys. Their choice of using leak-free HDPE in this assignment helped lead to the successful rescue of the boys and their coach.

Illustration: screen grab from Xylem video