Managing and Utilizing Mass Media as a Communication Tool During a Crisis: A Case of Tham Luang Cave Rescue Operation in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai

  • Bampen Maitreesophon, Ph.D Stamford International University
Keywords: Media, Communication, Crisis Communication, Tham Luang Cave


This research aimed to explain how media were handled and utilized at Tham Luang Cave where twelve boys and a football coach were trapped in the flooded cave complex and examined how local media in different areas created trust in the news coverage. Research results revealed that media coverage of the almost 20 days of non-stop rescue operations involving 10,000 individuals, 100s government agencies, over 100 divers, 1,000 reporters, and more than 10 nationalities of experts, presented an enormous challenge to coordinate all the spokespeople and insure that reliable information was disseminated. Three main tasks the rescue team used to handle and utilize media wisely and effectively that led to success were: 1) media management, 2) social media utilization, and 3) communication after the crisis. The successful operation created an unbelievable social movement as online people from all over the world used social media to express their interest in, pray for, and praise the victims and the rescue team, and made Tham Luang a now famous tourist attraction.