Australian Doctor Dropped Holiday to Join Thai Cave Rescue, Lauded for Contribution

16 July, 2018, 05:30 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Craig Challen.       Australian Broadcast Corporation  Screenshot

Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day operation which ended July 10 when teams of Navy Seals and global cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team to safety.

"So you're following the (guide) line with your hand and you basically might as well have your eyes closed with a small boy being cradled in your arms and feeling your way through rocks and posting yourself sideways through little holes".

Major Rubin also gave a first-hand account of the experience working with Dr Harris.

"They are the toughest blokes and kids I've ever had the privilege to meet", Dr Harris said.

Mr Shorten said he wanted to congratulate Adelaide anaesthetist Richard "Harry" Harris and all the others who worked on the rescue.

All 13 were brought to safety in a perilous rescue organized by Thai Navy Seals and an worldwide team of cave-diving experts.

Dr Harris was the man tasked with giving the medical all-clear for each evacuation, and decided what order the boys would leave the cave in.

In their statement, Dr Harris and Mr Challen thanked the British divers who led the operation, along with team members from the EU, US, China and other Australians.

Rescue efforts were failing, and hope was fading, but due to the bravery of first responders including Thailand's navy SEALs and good fortune from a lack of inclement weather, the boys were eventually rescued according to The Guardian.

The Cross of Valour has only been awarded to five Australians since it was established in 1975.

'He's been diving for over 30 years, and readily embraced advances in diving technology to better help him explore and photograph caves in Australia and overseas, ' he said.

Two of the first group had a lung infection as well, and Thongchai said they would need medicine for seven days.

Photos show the boys, aged 11 to 16, paying respect to an image of Gunan, which is surrounded by messages of thanks penned by the boys.

"A lot of parasites will want them to sign the rights to books, to films", said Galleguillos.

Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of the elite SEALs unit, was the only casualty in the operation.

The AMA tweeted that Dr Harris was "an wonderful doctor and human being".

Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanond presided over the funeral that was attended by high-ranking officials, including Narongsak Osottanakorn, who helmed the Tham Luang cave rescue operation.

Thai navy SEALs guided each boy one-by-one along the 2.5-mile route.

Dr Harris and Mr Challen touched down with twenty Australians involved in the risky Tham Luang cave rescue.

He has since received widespread praise on social media, with many calling for him to be named Australian of the Year-the nation's highest civic honour.



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