CHIANG RAI — A famous national artist Saturday unveiled plans for a 10 million baht monument to the recent miraculous cave rescue, which would feature the diver who gave his life for the cause.
Chalermchai Kositpipat, the artist behind one of Chiang Rai’s biggest tourist draws, along with several other local artists, designed the monuments including a 20-meter pavilion to memorialize the 18-day mission to rescue 13 people who became trapped in the flooded cave on June 23. Against all odds, their rescue was completed Tuesday.
Chalermchai said officials have approved the project, which would be situated in the front area of the Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave.
“I’m afraid that people will forget about this when time passes by, so I want to complete this as soon as possible,” he said.
Chalermchai, whose Wat Rong Khun is a famed destination in the province, would fund the project to the tune of 10 million baht. It would include a 13-meter mural of the 13 members of Wild Boars football team along with the international divers and volunteers who helped rescue them. There would also be photographs showing key events during the operation.
A 2.40-meter high statue of Saman Kunan, the 38-year old former SEAL who died July 6 while resupplying oxygen for the rescue, will be placed in front of the pavilion facing the cave. Saman was cremated today in his home province of Roi Et.
Chalermchai said the statue will be forged free of charge by a foundry in Ayutthaya province and ready by February.
Artists gathered today to start work on the main painting in hopes of finishing it by tomorrow. Chalermchai and the director general of the national parks department, will also visit the site Sunday morning to weigh in on the construction.
The pavilion is expected to be complete by this November, Chalermchai added.