British divers not heroes, just relieved, after rescue

Frederick Owens
July 13, 2018

He spoke of the "relief" he felt at seeing the boys, members of a football team called the Wild Boars, rescued after their 18-day ordeal in Thailand's Tham Luang Nang Non caves. He's a boy who has already faced significant challenges in his life and overcome them.

The hero Aussie doctor at the heart of the dramatic cave rescue in Thailand has issued his first statement, thanking the public for their support. In a grainy video captured on his GoPro camera that was later shown on TV news channels around the world, Volanthen told them: "Many people are coming".

They were found by British divers after nine days, and were eventually rescued days after in an operation that involved dozens of divers and hundreds of other rescue workers.

"He's got a very bouncy Australian accent, and they seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring".

On Wednesday, Harris declined to comment to the Australian newspaper in Thailand.

In a follow-up tweet, the 38-year-old Asian-American director said he "couldn't just sit here watching how others would "interpret" this important story".

"When they were hungry Coach Ek would use a flashlight to shine on the stalactites above", he said.

Thai rescue teams walk inside cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, July 2, 2018.

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The group survived by drinking water that dripped off the stalactites and the cave walls, rescue officials said.

But Chaiyananta, whose job was to help transfer the kids along between chambers two and three, said they were all "sleeping" on the harrowing journey out.

Another video released on Facebook by the Thai Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue, showed one of the boys being carried through part of the muddy cave on a stretcher covered by an emergency thermal blanket.

Volanthen paid tribute to the Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.

British divers Richard Stanton, left, and John Volanthen at the base camp for the rescue operation last week.

"The section of cave we were in was very rocky and unstable".

Volanthen praised the entire worldwide rescue team, which included 90 of the best scuba divers from around the world, for saving the group, who became trapped when monsoon rains struck on June 23 and flooded their exit. Anderson said one of the most crucial pieces of equipment was the positive pressure diving masks, which would expel water from the mask if one of the boys panicked. Their discovery immediately prompted discussions on how to get them out, with initial reports suggesting that the safest way to rescue the team was to wait out the rainy season, which lasts until October, and guide them out once the flooded tunnels had dried.

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