Thai cave rescue: Father dies after hero doctor's successful mission

Pauline Gross
July 13, 2018

The 12 Thai schoolboys rescued from a cave this week were reportedly given a "small sedative" before they embarked on a rescue mission that continues to grab worldwide headlines.

The father of a cave-diving Australian doctor died on Wednesday, shortly after his son played a key role in rescuing a boys' soccer team trapped in a cave for two weeks in northern Thailand. KBL has a history of partnering with the Thai government in times of difficulties.

"They just sat quietly without doing anything because it was dark", said Banpot, recounting what his son, who is still in hospital, had told him.

They said: "Thank you to God who helps us to see our son very soon". Relatively mild weather and a massive effort to pump out water created a window of opportunity.

The method was extremely risky, but dwindling oxygen levels in the cave and fears of more monsoon rains to come made a decision urgent.

The team became captured within a cave in Thailand on June 23 and survived for 18 long days before being miraculously rescued by a fearless group of worldwide divers.

A former Thai navy SEAL told Agence France-Presse that the 12 boys were partially sedated, fitted with a full face mask and passed from diver to diver through the cave complex in stretchers. The process lasted hours for each boy, and involved them getting through long passageways barely bigger than an adult body.

"By the time the last diver was out the water was already at head level, nearly to the point where he needed an oxygen tank".

This handout video grab taken from footage released by the Royal Thai Navy yesterday (July 11) shows a member of the "Wild Boars" Thai youth football team being moved on a stretcher during a rescue operation inside the Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district.

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Doctors have put the 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old football coach in quarantine while they are being tested for infectious diseases they may have contracted inside the Tham Luang cave complex.

At least two companies are also looking to make a film telling the story of the rescue. "In this type of cave diving, you have to lay line, rope, that's your lifeline".

Rick Stanton, from Coventry, said he was using a "very unique skill set" to "give something back to the community". They were able to check a watch for the time for the first three days.

There were about a hundred people inside the cave for each rescue operation, Anderson said, and each boy was handled by dozens of people as their perilous movement through a total of nine chambers unfolded. Lit by several beams of white light, the divers in wet suits and helmets are seen submerging themselves in the water and grabbing on to a metal dive line used to guide them through the winding channels of the six-mile cave. In some narrow passages they were connected to only one diver.

Some sections were completely dry but treacherously rocky or deep.

"It showed what people can do when they all collectively come up with a way to do something that has never been done before, and work together", he said.

"The boys' health is improving. relatives can now visit them in close proximity", said Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a health ministry inspector.

"There is a lot of responsibility, that is all I am prepared to say. there is a lot of responsibility that an experienced diver could handle".

"We are delighted with [the] successful outcome".

Other reports by GizPress

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