Thursday, 20 September, 2018

PH lauds Thailand for daring cave rescue of boys soccer team

The boys at a hospital in Chiang Rai province on 11 July The boys at a hospital in Chiang Rai province on 11 July
Charles Bowen | 14 July, 2018, 05:36

Operation to save soccer team called a once in a lifetime event; Jeff Paul reports from the scene in Thailand.

I am sitting in the back of an RAAF C17 on the way back to Australia with Craig and the unbelievable Australian team members.

Mr Stanton, from Coventry, spoke as he returned to the United Kingdom on Friday morning along with some of the other British divers who took part in the search and rescue mission.

"The efforts and skill of these guys in blazing this trail can not be underestimated".

Dr Harris was considered essential to the rescue efforts in Thailand because of his unique skills as a medical retrieval expert and his 30 years cave-diving experience.

Mallison and his British diving colleague, John Volanthen, were given medals of honor and certificates of appreciation by Thai military officials Thursday before they flew back to Great Britain.

"The Thai authorities took a lot of steps to divert rivers on the mountain top which we believe bought us a lot of time to get this outcome", he said.

"Suddenly the Australian guy who was overseeing that area started shouting that the water pump had stopped working", said Mr Chaiyananta.

Dr Richard Harris has praised the efforts of everyone involved in the successful cave dive rescue of 12 trapped boys and their football coach in Thailand.

The boys are understood to have entered the cave as a part of a team ritual, where younger boys would carve their names on to the wall.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days. "The water flow was strong", said Banphot.

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"Night was very cold but the coach hugged him, teaching everyone meditation to prevent excessive breathing and to not feel hungry".

The news comes a day after Pure Flix CEO and managing partner Michael Scott announced that his studio was working on a dramatic adaptation of the events surrounding the trapped Thai soccer team and their 25-year-old coach.

The coach also dug them into the muddy wall to keep warm and sleep.

Bill Whitehouse, vice-chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, said that some of the divers "have been on pretty hairy recovery dives before. the dives in this case were not particularly deep and nothing too extraordinary".

John Volanthen said he's just relieved the boys are all alive, and praised the collective effort of the worldwide contingent of rescuers.

He spoke briefly as he departed Chiang Rai airport, refusing to accept credit.

He added: "We are not heroes".

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

Wild Boars head coach Nopparat Khantavong said his remaining players were in good spirits after returning to practice knowing their friends were safe. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has signalled the government is considering how to formally recognise the Australian team. "They are children being children, it was an accident", he said. Three boys from the last group saved have ear infections.

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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