We're not heroes, says British diver who led Thai cave rescue

14 Juillet, 2018, 05:39 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Harry Averill Kera Rolson

The Australians who helped rescue of 12 boys trapped inside a Thai cave are on their way home, as a campaign builds to award Dr Richard Harris and his dive partner Craig Challen Australia's highest honour.

As he flew back to Australia on Friday, he told how he and his Australian dive partner, retired Perth vet Craig Challen, were supported by divers from Thailand, the United Kingdom and Europe as the 12 members of the soccer team and their coach were freed.

Thailand cave diving hero Dr Richard Harris (second left) pictured with MEDSTAR Andrew Pearce (left), wife Fiona (second right) and West Australian diver Craig Challen (right). "Everybody pulled together and the results speak for themselves, so we're just very happy that the boys are out and safe", Volanthen told reporters.

"But it was what they faced, and what they had to do in there, which was extraordinary".

"Great work and we really appreciate it", a Thai military official said as he bestowed on the men the souvenir medals during a ceremony at Chiang Rai airport.

12 little LADs and their coach, trapped deep inside a cave system in Thailand for weeks, were finally rescued earlier this week.

"We're not heroes", Volanthen said, despite headlines in the British newspapers describing him and the other global rescuers as just that.

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The Thai authorities are planning to set up a museum at the cave site to showcase the daring rescue operation, and a Hollywood production house has announced plans for a film version of the group's ordeal.

He added: "We are not heroes".

The youth football players, who remain in hospital, reportedly told their parents, that they had barely begun their trek when flooding suddenly blocked their exit, forcing them further into the Luang Nang Non Cave in Chiang Rai. We're very relieved that they're all alive.

"We don't see the children as at fault or as heroes". "The boys' health is improving ... relatives can now visit them in close proximity", said Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a health ministry inspector.

They had gone into the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai on June 23, for a quick excursion after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

"They, all 13 of them, saw a small passage or a crawl space, so they all dug the hole to get through to another spot, until they found Nen Nom Sao", Banphot said, referring to the sandy slope on which they ended up sheltering.

Sadly just hours after making his way out of the cave, Harris received the heartbreaking news that his father had died.

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