On Monday, 23 August 2021, our member organisation Thailand Rescue Dog Association (Thai-RDA) received a call-out to search for a 4-year-old boy who had gone missing 5 days earlier from a Cement Station Workers’ Camp, whilst his mother slept. CCTV footage indicated that the boy had not left the area surrounding the Camp. The key point of interest was a 5m x 15m cement well, directly opposite the hut where the young boy stayed with his family.
Thai-RDA deployed four search and rescue dogs, including some canines specially trained to search for human remains. They searched the camp and surrounding area, three water holes and the cement well. The main cement well was fully operational with cement trucks unloading their residual cement from construction work directly into the well throughout the five days that the boy had been missing. It also remained active throughout the search mission, with operations halting only briefly while each dog carefully checked the perimeter of the well. Harnesses were worn by all dogs during searching for safety around the highly contaminated and dangerous cement wells.
The search strategy from the outset was for the dogs to check the well, and if no alert was given, have a back-hoe digger carefully remove layers of cement waste and then have the dogs re-check the cement well at intervals. However, during the active back-hoe removal process, the boy’s deceased body was seen by one of Thai-RDA’s dog handlers, buried deeply under the heavy cement waste.
Our thoughts are with the young boy’s family.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Thai-RDA search and rescue dog teams, for whom it was a particularly challenging mission due to the prevailing circumstances as well as the current COVID-19 regulations.