September 14, 2018

Local man involved with Thailand cave rescue to give behind-the-scenes look at the daring mission

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — While most of the world was held captive by the story of 12 boys and their coach trapped in a dark cave, a specialized team was working frantically to fix the problem. One member on the rescue mission was local restaurant owner Thanet Natisri. Now, Natisri is sharing the real story of the incredible rescue.

Event open to community

In an effort to share his experiences with the community, Natisri will be presenting at Southern Illinois University Carbondale at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20. The event will be held in the agriculture building room 102, located at 1205 Lincoln Dr. Natisri’s presentation is free and open to the public, and registration is not required.

The event is a collaborate effort by the College of Agricultural Sciences at SIU, the Southern Illinois Chapter of the United Nations Association and the Universities Council on Water Resources.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the event at 7 p.m. at the SIU agriculture building, room 102. For more information contact Pam Umlauf-Brown, president of the southern Illinois chapter of the United Nations Association, at

Lowering water levels to allow safe rescue

As a Thailand native and a groundwater expert, Natisri had a unique perspective to offer the rescue team. He originally went to Thailand to work on a project pertaining to irrigation techniques, but was then asked by the military to assist with the rescue efforts.

Natisri’s job was to pump water out of the cave. But after assessing the situation, he and his team worked to block sinkholes in order to reduce the water level in the cave. Those efforts allowed the divers to safely extract the children and their coach. Natisri joined the team June 28, and was on site until all were rescued.

After coming home from that ordeal, Natisri was thanked by the Thailand lieutenant governor, and honored by the local southern Illinois community for his brave efforts. Natisri works with his wife, Yada, to run THAI-D Classic Cuisine in Marion, Illinois.

For more information on this event, contact John Roosevelt at