Thursday, 20 September, 2018

‘I’ve never seen anything like it’: Aussie doctor reflects on Thai rescue

Harry Averill Kera Rolson Harry Averill Kera Rolson
Melinda Barton | 14 July, 2018, 07:42

"The area will become a living museum to show how the operation unfolded", former governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, who led the unsafe rescue mission, told a news conference.

"I want to tell the guys that I miss them and that I want to hug them", Wild Boars teammate Supaghid Pragaihong told news agency Agence France-Presse.

The Thai Navy SEALs posted a video on Facebook showing the group when they were first found.

Harris, known to friends as "Harry", was part of the expert team who successfully saved all 13 members of the soccer team, who were trapped inside the cave for 17 days after heavy rain caused the cave system to flood.

At least two Hollywood producers are already plotting a movie project about the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach in anticipation of global box office success.

"None of the tasks were easy", Thai navy SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew said Thursday after his men flew back to their base at Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand.

Rick Stanton, who was one of the first British divers to approach the team in the cave on July 2, described the relief he felt as he learned the boys were all alive.

"We are planning the date and will do it whenever all the families are all ready", said Banphot.

"What we do is very calculating".

The stunning rescue of 12 boys and their coach earlier this week spurred jubilation in Thailand and made the team famous worldwide.

But he said: "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".

"We're just very happy that the boys are out and safe", Volanthen said.

He said: "To see all that heroic bravery in the cave, and to get all the divers out, it's just such a touching event and so personal to me".

"When you see Australians who are modest turn up in these most hard situations around the world and they just do what they believe is the right thing", he said.

The father of 14-year-old Ekkarat Wongsukchan said the coach dived into the water to see their circumstances once they became trapped, and drew arrows on the cave wall so no one became lost.

"We were very pleased and we were very relieved that they were all alive, but I think at that point we realized the enormity of the situation, and that's perhaps why it took a while to get them all out", Volanthen told Reuters after landing in the United Kingdom.

"The Australian doctor, he's very good, he's got a very good bedside manner", Mr Volanthen told reporters as he landed back in London. He's got a very bouncy Australian accent and they [the rescued boys] seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring.

"It's an absolute tragedy", he said.

Volanthen said Saman's death last Friday had brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.