Duangphet or ‘Dom’ was at the heart of a rescue in July 2018, which generated warmth and goodwill throughout the world. His death in February this year followed similar joyful scenes in August 2022 when he was awarded a scholarship to study at the top UK soccer academy.
A Senior UK Coroner has issued a report concluding that the 17-year-old Wild Boars footballer Duangphet Phromthep, who died following an incident at a prestigious sporting academy in Leicester in February this year, committed suicide. In a summary report, Professor Catherine Mason made it clear that the circumstances surrounding the death were not suspicious, nor was there any third-party involvement. It comes after an extensive investigation and formal Inquest process following a provisional but unpublished cause of death finding by the Coroner in February.
Last Friday, in the United Kingdom, the Press Association (PA) reported the results of the Coroner’s inquest into the death of 17-year-old Duangphet Phromthep, the young Captain of the famous Wild Boars Soccer Team, who were dramatically rescued from a cave complex in Chiang Rai in July 2018 in a story that captivated the world.
The verdict of the Leicester City and South Leicestershire Coroners Court, adjudicated by Senior Coroner Professor Catherine Mason, was that the young man had taken his own life.
Full investigation into 17-year-old’s death after an incident at Brookhouse College on February 12th 2023, when paramedics and an ambulance were called
It is understood this followed months of exhaustive investigation and enquiries demanded by the Coroner’s office before finalising her report.
Inquest proceedings were opened in the Summer.
The verdict was handed down on October 4th and followed a provisional cause of death issued after the teenager’s death on February 14th last after an incident was reported to Emergency Services at the exclusive Brookhouse College in Market Harborough, Leicester, where Duangphet was attending, having received a scholarship to the soccer academy in August last year.
The sudden death of the teenager has been shrouded in secrecy since then, with reports suggesting that he suffered brain trauma from an incident which occurred at the school on the day when an ambulance and paramedics were summoned.
The young footballer was removed to Kettering General Hospital, where he was formally declared dead on Tuesday, February 14th, after having been placed on life support.
Police insisted from the outset that there was nothing suspicious. Coroner’s report says the suicide was unexpected and could not have been prevented.
From the outset, Leicestershire Police had indicated that the death of the teenager was not suspicious, and Professor Mason confirmed this in her inquest conclusion, which was the subject of Friday’s news report by PA.
‘Duangphet was not known to mental health services, and it is not known why he took the actions that he did,’ the Senior Coroner said in her statement.
‘It could not have been foreseen or prevented,’ Professor Mason wrote in her summary. ‘The police investigation has found no evidence of third-party involvement or suspicious circumstances.’
Following the incident on February 12th 2023, the local police force in Leicestershire issued a brief statement concerning the emergency services call from the school that Sunday.
‘The call concerned the welfare of a pupil. The pupil, a 17-year-old boy, was taken to hospital. He has since died. The boy’s death is not being treated as suspicious, and a file will be prepared for the Coroner.’
Duangphet, also known as Dom, was Captain of the Wild Boars football team at the centre of international celebration in July 2018 when they were rescued
On Saturday, March 4, 2023, the cremated remains of Duangphet, also known by his nickname ‘Dom’, the Captain of the famous Wild Boars squad, local Thai boys between 11 and 17 years of age who, with their coach, 25-year-old Ekkaphon Kanthawong became well known and feted after the Tham Luang cave rescue in July 2018 which has since been the subject of several movie blockbusters, arrived back at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
A tearful Thanaporn Phromthep, the mother of Dom, was at Suvarnabhumi Airport to welcome the remains of her son.
The tragic occasion followed a Buddhist religious rites ceremony held in February attended by friends of the footballer and his family at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao, a well-known and revered Buddhist temple in the northern province of Chiang Rai.
Aside from the coach of the Wild Boars team, Mr Ekkaphon, Duangphet was one of the most well-known members of the squad and was famously credited for alerting rescuers to their presence in the Tham Luang cave complex in 2018, when at one point, it was considered likely that the team and their coach had perished.
Sad development in an uplifting story
The subsequent death of the teenager is a sad and poignant development in what had been an uplifting story for Thailand and the rest of the world, notably the United Kingdom, as the core of the rescue team involved UK volunteers, including a local British expat, Mr Vern Unsworth, a seasoned cave explorer.
Mr Unsworth helped recruit two renowned cave divers, Rick Stanton and Johan Volanthen, at home in Britain.
This team, together with the Thai Armed Forces and other specialist volunteers from across the world, helped engineer the rescue after the young boys had spent weeks in the cave complex with their coach having entered it on June 23rd, 2018.
Duangphet or Dom had attended the Vachiralai Bee School in Chiang Mai, a respected secondary-level institution, before being awarded the scholarship to Brook College in Leicestershire.
At the famed football academy, initial reports suggested that the young Thai footballer had been settling in well, having initially travelled to the United Kingdom with family members before becoming a full-time boarder.