Duangphet Phromthep, affectionately known as “Dom,” the heroic captain of the Thai youth football team that was trapped in a cave in 2018, has taken his own life while studying in the UK, as confirmed by a coroner’s ruling. The tragic incident unfolded at Brooke House College in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, on February 12. Despite efforts to save him, Dom passed away two days later at Kettering General Hospital.
After conducting an inquest into the 17-year-old’s death, a senior coroner, Prof Catherine Mason, officially recorded a conclusion of suicide. Prof Mason stated, “Mr. Phromthep was not known to mental health services, and it is not known why he took the actions that he did. It could not have been foreseen or prevented. The police investigation has found no evidence of third-party involvement or suspicious circumstances.”
Dom became a global figure as the leader of the Wild Boars soccer team, also known as Moo Pa in Thai. Their ordeal started when a sudden storm flooded the cave, trapping them inside. It was in those tough conditions that Dom celebrated his 13th birthday, a moment sadly remembered by Vernon Unsworth, a prominent British rescuer who played a crucial role in their daring rescue. Unsworth expressed his sadness about Dom’s untimely loss, saying, “The tragedy is that he got the chance he wanted in life, only to have it taken away at such a young age.” He added that words can’t capture the depth of sorrow, highlighting how life can be painfully harsh.
The boys and their 25-year-old coach endured nine harrowing days in darkness without food before they were discovered by an international search and rescue effort that involved approximately 10,000 people.
Dom had enrolled as a student at Brooke House College in Market Harborough. His inquest began on February 22 and concluded on October 4 at Leicester Coroner’s Court. Dom had joined the college as a student in the football academy just a year before his tragic passing.
Ian Smith, the Principal of Brooke House College, expressed his condolences, saying, “Our entire college community remains united in grief with Dom’s family, friends, and former teammates. As a college, the health, well-being, and welfare of our students is our absolute priority. We have robust safeguarding systems in place which enable us to provide appropriate support for students when needed, and we keep these systems under constant review so that we can do everything possible to provide the necessary support to every child.”
Smith emphasized the continued support provided by the college to students and colleagues since the tragedy, and he concluded by saying, “Dom will always remain a part of the Brooke House family and will be hugely missed.”
The loss of Dom, who had once embodied resilience and courage during the 2018 cave rescue, highlights the importance of mental health support for young individuals, even those who may not have shown any prior signs of distress. His tragic passing serves as a reminder of the need for open conversations and increased mental health awareness within communities worldwide.