Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 07:56:03 AM

Australian divers given Thai royal honours for cave rescue

International Desk |
Update: 2019-04-19 9:09:30 PM
Australian divers given Thai royal honours for cave rescue
Collected photo.

Two Australian doctors were given royal honours in Thailand on Friday for helping rescue a boys' soccer team from a flooded cave and said they are looking forward to a reunion with the youngsters they helped save.

Richard Harris and Craig Challen were given the award at a ceremony presided over by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Four Australian officials involved with the rescue effort were also honoured.

Both highly skilled divers, the doctors played key roles in rescuing members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach from the cave complex in Chiang Rai province last July.

They said before the award ceremony they were looking forward to going to the northern province Monday to see how the boys are faring.

"That's really exciting for us to go and see them and make sure they're well and see how they're doing after the rescue," Harris said.
"Hopefully we will find them in good shape."

A mixed team of Thais and expert divers from a number of countries combined in the dramatic search and rescue mission carried out after the team went missing when heavy rain flooded the Tham Luang cave complex.

The drama, which lasted 18 days, gripped the attention of the world.

Harris and Challen, who in January were jointly named Australians of the Year, said that should it ever happen again, they were ready to reprise their operation.

"We have a little bit more experience now," Challen said. "We seem to be the world record holders in cave-diving rescues now."

Source: SCMP

BDST: 2109 HRS, APR 19, 2019

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