Prasad Kulkarni and Shyam Shukla were an important part of the rescue team and were the only Indians participating in the mission.
The wonderful news about the Thai Cave rescue was circulated on Tuesday, 10 July. After nearly three weeks of being stuck in the dangerous caves, all the 12 boys and their football coach were finally rescued.
In the last 18 days, a local search for the missing people turned into a complex rescue mission, with help pouring in from all over the world.
Getting to the boys and bringing them back safely, certainly wasn’t an easy task. Thailand’s Navy SEALs, volunteer professional divers and even medics were all part of the team that worked hard to get the boys out of the flooded caves. However, the perpetual heavy rains did not help their cause and the team needed to pump the flooded water out so they could reach the stranded boys.
This is where Thailand approached Kirloskar Brothers Limited—a pump manufacturing company.
Among the seven-member team from Kirloskar deployed in Thailand on July 5, were Prasad Kulkarni from Sangli and Shyam Shukla, an engineer from Pune.
Their duty was to pump out water from the 4-km-long cave even as it rained and kept the water levels high throughout the operation.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Kulkarni said, “Our work was to remove water from the cave, which has sharp 90 degree turns. The incessant rainfall posed a huge problem as the water level just couldn’t recede. The generator-based power supply was erratic. So, we had to use smaller pumps. The cave is in a 20 sq km hill, which was dark and damp. Its topography is such that even scuba divers could not help at times.”
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This is why pumping out water from the treacherous caves was necessary. Lower levels of water could mean a more extensive space for the divers to get to the boys.
The image below would better explain why pumping out water was important in this operation.
Shukla too elaborates on this, saying “Reaching the boys was a difficult task. The cave is very narrow and is not a plain terrain. But we managed to pump out the water from the cave.”
After the mission was completed, Thailand’s ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, tweeted the country’s gratitude.
“While in diplomacy, as in life, following your heart & taking the path of least resistance, is often the preferred choice; the less familiar &the more difficult path, maybe the intellectual choice that you have to make in the interest of your country.
Thailand, go for India!” he said.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)