The captain of the Thai football team which became trapped in a cave for days in 2018 took his life while at school in the UK, a coroner has ruled.
Duangphet Phromthep died at Kettering General Hospital on February 14, two days after being found unconscious at Brooke House College in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
Following an inquest into the 17-year-old’s death on October 4, at Leicester Coroner’s Court, Professor Catherine Mason, senior coroner for Leicester City and South Leicestershire, recorded a conclusion of suicide.
In a record of the inquest, Prof Mason said: ‘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.’
Duangphet, known as Dom, previously gained worldwide fame as the captain of The Wild Boars, or Moo Pa in Thai, football team.
The team became trapped in the Tham Luang cave system in 2018 after a sudden storm caused flooding which blocked the exit, triggering an international effort to resuce them.
The boys, then aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach spent nine days in darkness without food before they were found by searchers, part of a team of around 10,000 people who assisted in the operation.
Dom turned 13 while trapped in the cave, with images of the boys beamed across the world before they were sedated and removed by a team of divers one at a time.
They left hospital a few weeks later after some contracted lung infections while they were trapped.
In March Dom’s friends and family gathered to bid an emotional farewell to the teenager, who was hailed as a ‘natural leader’ with a promising footballing career ahead of him.
A shrine to Dom at Wat Phra That Doi Wao in Chiang Rai, Thailand, was decorated with 17 footballs to represent each of his years of life.
In a statement on Friday, Ian Smith, the school’s principal, said its community ‘remains united in grief’ over Dom’s death and that he will be ‘hugely missed’.
He said: ‘As a college, the health, wellbeing and welfare of our students is our absolute priority.
‘This was reflected in our recent ISI [Independent Schools Inspectorate] safeguarding inspection from April 2023, which confirmed pupils know they have many people they can speak to, that they would be confident to do so if they felt any concerns and they know those concerns would be acted on if they did raise them.
‘The coroner also acknowledged the entire college community for the high quality of our student care, welfare & safeguarding and noted this tragic incident sadly could not have been foreseen nor prevented.
‘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.
‘Since this tragedy, our dedicated pastoral team has continued to provide support to students and colleagues.
‘We have continued to liaise closely with the Royal Thai Embassy and other agencies to enable the family’s wishes to be carried out, and we ask for continued privacy and compassion for all affected by his loss.
‘Dom will always remain a part of the Brooke House family and will be hugely missed.’
At his funeral, Dom’s mother, Thanaporn Phromthep, said: ‘He got to play football. He wanted to go abroad and he got that. Thank you for the opportunities that allowed him to live out his dreams.
‘Dom was an easygoing kid. He lived simply, ate simply. He didn’t take himself too seriously and was a happy going person. He passed away peacefully.’
Duangphet’s head coach, Nopparat Khanthavong said: ‘He had a passion for playing football and was very focused and determined.
‘He was a natural leader. He was focused in training and was an example to his friends and the younger boys.
‘He went on tryouts and received a scholarship to study in England, which was the last place he got to go.
‘It was a dream of his to play football overseas.’