We're no heroes, says United Kingdom cave diver Volanthen

Saturday, 14 Jul, 2018

British cave divers, Rick Stanton (centre), Chris Jewell, and chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council Peter Dennis speak to the media at a news conference at Heathrow Airport, having helped in the rescue of the 12 boys in Thailand, in London, Britain, on Friday.

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.

'The diving conditions were extremely challenging, there was poor visibility and responsibility for another human being's life. "Everybody pulled together and the results speak for themselves, so we're just very happy that the boys are out and safe", Volanthen told reporters.

"The most important thing to have was a full face mask which had been applied inside with positive pressure to enable them to breathe and to be relaxed enough so not to feel any anxiety during the process", he said.

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.

The rescue took more than two weeks.

The cave rescue was a risky operation.

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

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.

John Volanthen said he's just relieved the boys are all alive, and praised the collective effort of the global contingent of rescuers.

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

"We don't see the children as at fault or as heroes".

Icarn Viboonroongruang, the mother of 11-year-old Chanin Wibulrungreung, the youngest in the group, said her son told her through a glass window at Chiang Rai hospital that the first three nights were among the hardest.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have joined the call for Dr Harris and Dr Challen to be presented with the Cross of Valour, Australia's highest civilian bravery award with a change.org petition taking more than 33,000 signatures. "As they were coming down the slope, we were counting them until we got to 13. unbelievable", he said.

Sadly just hours after making his way out of the cave, Harris received the heartbreaking news that his father had died.

Members of the Thai Navy SEALs team arrived home to their base at Sattahip, feted by the Thai people but saddened by the loss of their colleague.