British diver: We are not heroes after Thai cave rescue

Sergio Cunningham
July 14, 2018

The team became captured within a cave in Thailand on June 23 and survived for 18 long days before being miraculously rescued by a courageous group of worldwide divers.

Dr Harris praised Thailand's efforts during the rescue mission, and the huge assistance provided by the global community.

"The diving conditions were extremely challenging, there was poor visibility and responsibility for another human being's life".

"We should never underestimate what they individually, collectively went through", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

Mr Shorten said the work of all the Australians involved meant he "couldn't be prouder" to be an Australian.

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.

The team echoed the comments made by John Volanthen, the other British diver who found the boys and returned to England earlier.

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.

They expected to be in the cave for only an hour when high water was suddenly upon them. "The water flow was strong", said Banphot. It was very cold at night and pitch dark.

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The boys and their coach 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 were given a tranquilliser to keep them calm throughout the process.

Recalling the moment on July 2 when he and his diving partner John Volanthen found the boys on their 10th day inside the cave, he said his initial reaction was "of course, excitement, relief that they were still alive".

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

But Mr Volanthen dismissed the idea, adding: "We are not heroes".

Volathentold the Daily Mail: "We are not heroes, quite the opposite".

"We were very pleased and we were very relieved that they were all alive, but I think at that point we realized the enormity of the situation, and that's perhaps why it took a while to get them all out", Volanthen told Reuters after landing in the United Kingdom.

There's been talk of awarding Volanthen and Stanton with the George Cross, the highest civilian award in the United Kingdom for acts of heroism.

He also acknowledged the support the pair had received from people around the world.

Back in the boys' home town of Mae Sai, their teammates had not practised together since the group went missing, as the area's residents kept an anxious vigil around the cave's entrance. A former Thai navy SEAL diver died during the mission.

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