Thai cave boy’s ashes arrive home from UK for final farewell

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CHIANG RAI, Thailand — The cremated ashes of one of the 12 boys rescued from a flooded cave in 2018 arrived on Saturday in the far northern Thai province of Chiang Rai, where Buddhist rites for his funeral will be held over the next few days following his death in the U.K.

Duangphet “Dom” Phromthep, 17, was found unconscious in his room on Feb. 12 at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire and was taken to a hospital, where he died two days later.

His body was cremated earlier this week in the U.K. with Buddhist monks performing rites at the ceremony in accordance with his family’s wishes. The family watched a live video stream of the funeral in the U.K. from Chiang Rai.

Duangphet’s ashes were handed over to his family at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Saturday morning before they boarded a flight to Chiang Rai.

Others waited at the Chiang Rai airport, including his grandparents who burst into tears when they were handed a small box containing his ashes. His former coach Ekapol Chanthawong, who was also trapped in the cave with him, held a large portrait of his former student.

The Thai funeral for Duangphet will take place at Wat Phra That Doi Wao, less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Tham Luang Cave, where Dom, along with his teammates and coach, were trapped for more than two weeks in 2018 before they were safely guided out by a team of expert divers.

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