Heroic Thai Cave Rescue Might Have Involved Ketamine, Handcuffs

The boys were bound and drugged in the cave, according to a new book.

January 15, 2019 12:30 pm
Dirt is moved to absorb water at a pumping site at Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for the 12 boys and their coach trapped at the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

The Thai cave rescue had us glued to our phones, televisions and computers as we waited for the very first boy, a young soccer player and one of 13 people trapped in a flooded cave, to emerge from the murky flood waters.

The Cave, a new book by Liam Cochrane, an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) reporter, says the boys were drugged and handcuffed- bound with tethers, before diving to the surface.

The book was profiled in a Daily Mail article about the harrowing event. It claims the boys were given shots of Ketamine in the legs to sedate them and then their hands were bound behind their backs.

Thai soldiers relay electric cable deep into the Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai on June 26, 2018 during a rescue operation for a missing children’s football team and their coach. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

One of the divers, Dr. Richard Harris, known as Dr. Harry, was a trained and experience diver as well as the anaesthetist who would put the boys to sleep before suiting them up and diving out of the cave. The boys were also given Xanax and atropine.

According to The Daily Mail: “First, he would give them a tablet of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax to take the edge off their fear. Then he would inject ketamine into a leg muscle — five milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight — to put them to sleep.”

The drugs were allegedly used to keep the boys calm and asleep during the rescue, so they wouldn’t rip their masks off or panic during the process.

thai cave rescue
A family member shows a picture of four of the twelve missing boys near the Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai on July 2, 2018. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)
AFP/Getty Images

A News Corp. Australia report says that the kids were given far stronger drugs than reported and that no child who had never dived before would be able to complete the dive alive, so the parents of the children were lied to about the rescue strategy.

Cochrane has tweeted concern over the News. Corp article saying the news outlet never received any excerpts from his book and that they are fabricating quotes.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information is confirmed.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.