IN his first act back on Australian soil after playing a pivotal role in the Thailand cave rescue, hero diver Richard Harris has told of how complex the rescue was while deflecting the praise he has received.

Dr Harris was hailed a hero for his efforts in saving the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped by rising flood water.

Dr Richard Harris (left) and Craig Challen posted on Facebook as they flew home from Thailand
Dr Richard Harris (left) and Craig Challen posted on Facebook as they flew home from Thailand

"Craig and I have had a spotlight on our efforts and we want to make everyone realise that while we might have become the face of this rescue for some reason, everyone should know that the role we played was no more or less important than all the many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people.

Parents of the 12 boys made it clear they had no blame for the boys’ junior coach, Ekkapon “Ake” Chantawongse. Picture: AP
Parents of the 12 boys made it clear they had no blame for the boys’ junior coach, Ekkapon “Ake” Chantawongse. Picture: AP

"The part we played has been made out to be a lot more noble than it actually was, we just consider ourselves lucky to have had some skills that we could contribute to the wonderful outcome."

 

Twenty Aussies involved in the dangerous Tham Luang cave rescue, including Richard Harris and Craig Challen,
Twenty Aussies involved in the dangerous Tham Luang cave rescue, including Richard Harris and Craig Challen,

Dr Harris received international recognition for his efforts in keeping the boys calm.

He had the delicate task of sedating the boys before each one was extricated.

Many rescuers said his bedside manner played a crucial role in the rescue's success.

Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen with hospital staff in Thailand. Picture: Supplied.
Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen with hospital staff in Thailand. Picture: Supplied.

Dr Harris said it was one of the most arduous operations he had been involved in.

"I have never seen anything like it, with man battling to control the natural forces of the monsoon waters." he wrote.

"All this time four brave Navy Seals sat with the Wild Boars knowing they were in as much danger as the kids."

Dr Harris said a tough decision was made to swim the boys out of the cave.

"When it seemed all other options were exhausted, the decision to swim the players out was made and the rescue went ahead," he said.

"The pressure that was put on these guys (the divers) was immense and they never dropped the ball for a second."

When Dr Harris emerged from the cave on Wednesday he was told his father James Harris had died.

The 12 boys and their coach had been trapped in the cave since June 23.
The 12 boys and their coach had been trapped in the cave since June 23.


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