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King of Thailand honours cave rescuers

King Maha Vajiralongkorn (or Rama X) of Thailand has honoured the cave rescuers who saved 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in July. The King named the heroes as Members of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn.

The award for significant voluntary activities was presented by Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha on behalf of His Majesty on Friday to 188 people which took place in a ceremony at the government house in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Those honoured were Japanese citizen Shigeki Miyake; Belgian, Ben Reymenants; US citizen, Joshua David Morris; Finnish citizen, Mikko Paasi; American, Bruce Konefe; and Japanese, Hideki Furihata.

Furihata works with Thailand’s royal irrigation department and told NHK that he was “glad his work was acknowledged” and that he “wants to continue supporting agriculture in Thailand.”

A thank you gala, partly sponsored by His Majesty, was also held on Thursday evening at the Royal Plaza for those who risked their lives to save those trapped. Thousands attended the dinner which included a thank you statement read on behalf of King Rama X.

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The 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach became stranded in a cave in northern Thailand in June due to rising floodwaters. They were stuck in the cave for 18 days before the final four boys and the coach were rescued on Tuesday, 10 July.

The rescue operation claimed the life of one experienced former Thai Navy Seal due to lack of oxygen. The 38-year-old Saman Kunan lost his life after losing consciousness exiting the cave after delivering supplies to those stranded.

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The 12 young athletes, ranging in age from 11 to 16, and their coach have since recovered from the incident which caught the attention of most of the world.

King Rama X came to the throne after the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej (or Rama IX) in 2016.

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