British diver recalls ‘massive, massive relief’ when he found missing Thai boys

Harry Averill Kera Rolson

He credited Australian medic and diver Dr. Richard "Harry" Harris and three Thai Navy SEALs for staying with the boys and coach deep in the cave and keeping them calm and encouraged while plans were being hatched to get them out.

"We were very very pleased it worked out quite so well, it worked out, the results speak for themselves".

They were found 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, and divers and other global rescuers plotted the complex mission to rescue the team before more rain came.

"We should never underestimate what they individually, collectively went through", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said. After 18 days, Thai Navy SEALS, government officials, and countless private companies helped orchestrate a rescue that brought each of the trapped soccer players and their coach to safety. Then of course when we departed, all we could think about was how we were going to get them out. Those handprints were among the first signs of where the boys were, what they had done to escape the floods, and what dangers rescuers would face in their mission to save the boys and their coach. Experts say the children will bounce back, while Chanthawong may struggle to cope with feelings of guilt.

It's an inspiring story fit for Hollywood: 12 courageous young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks, dauntless rescuers risking life and limb to save the team, a wave of support from dozens of countries as the world watched with bated breath for the rescuers to emerge victorious with the Wild Boars safe in hand.

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.

"They should realise that not only have they given a gift to these boys and their families, they've given a gift to every other Australian".


"We gave them a little bit of extra light, they still had light, they looked in good health".

'So there was relief, tempered with uncertainty'.

He said by the time he and Dr Challen arrived at the Chang Rai site in northern Thailand, local and British divers had laid down robust ropes to ensure safe access to the stranded boys of the Wild Boars team.

'There was a lot of chaos but we were so task-orientated, focused, and we blanked that out and carried on with the job in hand, step by step, until we achieved success'. During the brief press conference at Heathrow, Mr Stanton declined to answer any medical questions but said: "They were carefully handled".

'It was a successful outcome and we played a part in an global effort'.

Stanton rejected suggestions the divers were heroes.

Mr Jewell said it was very hard to judge how close it came to being a very different outcome.

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