THAILAND has begun the commemoration of the epic cave rescue of the teenage soccer team that caught global attention by starting the construction of a museum of the site.
On Thursday, construction of the planned museum and statue of the rescuer who died during the crisis began near the Tham Luang cave, in Chiangrai.
Local artists and several senior officials gathered outside the cave to launch the start of the project on Wednesday, Bangkok Post reported.
FIRST LOOK: Olarn Nateharn, Vice President of Art Bridge Association shows me architect’s proposal for the Tham Luang Cave Museum #thamluangcave #ถ้ำหลวง #13ชีวิตรอดแล้ว #พาหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ThailandCaveRescue #พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #คนแปลกหน้าที่อยากเจอ #ขอบคุณ #wildboars pic.twitter.com/UowQCvjRmI
— Howard Johnson (@Howardrjohnson) July 15, 2018
The centre, according to the paper, will memorialise the rescue of the 12 footballers and the coach of the “Wild Boards” football team.
The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23 while exploring the cave complex.
After two weeks, the boys were finally rescued after a perilous three-day mission by foreign and Thai divers that gripped audiences around the world.
During the launch on Wednesday, authorities sought blessings of local spirits with a traditional Buddhist ceremony at the cave.
The museum, which is expected to take about five months and THB10 million baht (US$300,000) to build.
The building is being funded by a Thai artist and Chiang Rai native, Chalermchai Kositpipat, according to Reuters.
“This place will be very beneficial for our country, as it will commemorate the multinational cooperation and the hero who sacrificed his life. Tourists from around the world will visit this place,” Chalermchai said.
Thai diver Samarn Kunan died after he lost consciousness during a mission to place oxygen tanks deep inside the cave.
A four-metre statue of Samarn, currently being sculpted, will be placed in front of the museum.
The museum will also house a 13-metre-long painting, which features rescuers, including the British divers who first found the boys.
Eleven of the boys have been spending time as Buddhist novices to honour Samarn. On Saturday, they will leave the temple to return to normal life.
Additional reporting by Reuters