Calls for Aussie heroes in Thai cave rescue to be honoured

Lewis Collier
July 14, 2018

He denied he was a hero and said he was using a "very unique skill set" to "give something back to the community". Add Thailand Cave Rescue as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Thailand Cave Rescue news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

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.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday global members of the rescue team would be given a "Thailand Elite" card worth 500,000 baht ($15,000) with benefits including a 5-year visa in thanks.

"Are we heroes? No", said Rick Stanton, one of the two British divers who found the boys.

The boys meant to explore the cave for just an hour, a casual jaunt to relax after soccer practice, but the waters rose.

Mr Stanton and John Volanthen were the first to reach the group, which had been trapped for nine days.

"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.

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The team then launched a mission to rescue the boys and their 25-year-old coach, which concluded on Tuesday after an 18-day ordeal.

The decision to swim members of a Thai youth soccer team to safety from a flooded cave was made only after all other options were exhausted, Australian cave diver and retrieval expert Richard "Harry" Harris says.

When Volanthen, 50, arrived at Heathrow Airport in London later Thursday, he was greeted by reporters and cheered by people who recognized him.

Chu took to Twitter to give his thoughts on this project and said, "I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!"

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. Moreover, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha confirmed the boys were given the drug "to make them not excited, not stressed", according to the Daily Mail. "He's got a very good bedside manner". He's got a very bouncy Australian accent and they [the rescued boys] seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring.

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

"It's an absolute tragedy", he said.

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