Cave explorer killed by carbon dioxide - July 2021

On Saturday 17 July 2021 Piyawee Tharasombat was killed by the high level of carbon dioxide in Tham Luuk. The cave is near Mu Si, Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima province. Local rescue services used breathing apparatus to recover the body of the 41-year old, which was found only 11 m from the bottom of the 5 m entrance ladder.

The cave is known for its bad air. On a visit in September 2017 Chaiporn Siripornpibul was unable to descend more than 3 m down the entrance shaft, with a cigarette lighter not working at this point due to the high carbon dioxide.

Foreign cave exploration in Thailand

Foreign cave exploration in Thailand


Many of the early travelers to Thailand mentioned caves and limestone hills in their journals. John Crawfurd mentions caves on Ko Si Chang (Chonburi) in 1821 (Crawfurd 1828) while Captain James Low recorded a bird’s-nest cave at Hat Chao Mai in Trang in 1826 (Low 1833). Being close to Bangkok Tham Khao Luang in Phetchaburi was visited frequently by 19th century European travelers with one of the earliest visitors being Robert Schomburgk in May 1860  (Schomburgk 1861).

The Tham Phra Sai Ngam Rescue 6-7 April 2021

On Sunday 4 April 2021, 46 year old monk Phra Ajarn Manas, on his annual pilgrimage from Nakhon Sawan province, entered Tham Phra Sai Ngam to meditate. This 3 km long cave is on the western edge of the Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, 6 km north of Noen Maprang in Phitsanulok province. While he was in the cave a heavy thunderstorm caused a seasonal sump, 400 m from the entrance, to close trapping him in the cave. As the monk was planning to spend a long time in the cave (he reportedly had some food with him) the alarm wasn’t raised until noon on Tuesday 6 April.