“Leave no man behind”, is a motto well know throughout the armed forces. History is filled with heroic souls facing death to assist or retrieve fallen soldiers during battle. However, what if your daily life turns out to be that battle? You’re not in the midst of war, just trying to do your job and make it though the day. But what if you are one of four cats that were left behind unknowingly during a chaotic event that needed rescue? This creed apparently also extends to four-legged souls too for the Royal Thai Navy.
Because it was four cats that a Thai Navy officer risked his life to save from a sinking ship.
It was a day after 8 crew members had been saved from a sinking ship in the Andaman Sea.
The Navy had made their way out to the scene of the incident to investigate. They wanted to make sure there was no oil spill from the disaster and find the cause of the wreckage.
But what they discovered was much more shocking. There were four cats clinging to the sinking wreckage with the last of their strength!
“I used my camera to zoom in to the boat, and I saw one or two cats popping their heads out,” said First-Class Petty Officer Wichit Pukdeelon of the navy’s air and coastal defense division.
The felines had been unknowingly left behind in the rescue the prior day. A passing ship had discovered the fiery scene and rescued the human crew. They didn’t know there were cats on the ship and the fishing crew apparently said nothing.
Left scrambling to find a dry spot in a sinking ship throughout the overnight hours, they were likely terrified. But their luck was about to change.
‘I immediately took off my shirt and put on a life jacket so I could jump into the sea. The flames were at the back of the boat but it was starting to sink, so I knew I had to be quick. ‘I’m so relieved that we were able to save the kittens. They would have drowned or died of thirst if they went into the sea.’
The Thai officer dove into the churning waves to battle currants and made his way to the soaking felines.
Scared and huddled together on a beam, the felines were wary of their rescuer but allowed him to help. Three of the cats were carefully placed into a waterproof bag while the last…and possibly bravest…rode on the soldiers life preserver!
A literal life line was used to pull the brave man and cats back to the rescue vessel, about 50 feet through the choppy waters.
And although the cats were soaked through and through, they were soon safe aboard the Navy ship with a crew of animal lovers.
Back at the Navy base, the cats were examined and thankfully given the all clear to eventually be adopted out.
They had no physical injuries after their ordeal, but were a bit dehydrated and VERY hungry.
For now, the new recruits are enjoying some much deserved attention from their rescuers. The soldiers at the base are happy to shower them with just that for the time being. Seems the cats are purrfectly okay with that!
And it even inspired some adorable artwork already!
Thank you so much to the Thai Navy for jumping into action and not leaving these four precious souls behind!
Photos property of @RoyalThaiNavyFanpage