Friday, 17 August, 2018

Thai cave rescue: Rick Stanton says he is 'not a hero'

Footage of divers pulling the last boys to safety from the flooded cave Footage of divers pulling the last boys to safety from the flooded
Lora Ball | 14 July, 2018, 05:38

The rescue mission captivated the world after the group was discovered by two British divers on July 2.

Mr Stanton, from Coventry, spoke as he returned to the United Kingdom on Friday morning along with some of the other British divers who took part in the search and rescue mission.

Speaking on his return to the UK, Mr Stanton said: "Are we heroes?"

"We gave them a little bit of extra light, they still had light, they looked in good health".

"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is nearly beyond our imagination when we first became involved in this operation", they said. "And so there was relief tempered with uncertainty".

The boys and their coach had gone into the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai on June 23, for a quick excursion after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

The head of a Thai navy SEAL diving team that helped lead 12 boys and their soccer coach through a flooded cave complex to safety urged the boys on Thursday to "be a force for good" as the dramatic operation wound to a close.

Volathentold the Daily Mail: "We are not heroes, quite the opposite".

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Rick Stanton, from Coventry, said he was using a "very unique skill set" to "give something back to the community".

Mr Stanton told reporters: "This was completely uncharted, unprecedented territory and nothing like this has been done". So, of course there were doubts.

Divers who rescued the Thai soccer team who were trapped in a cave first practiced on local children in a swimming pool. Those handprints were among the first signs of where the boys were, what they had done to escape the floods, and what dangers rescuers would face in their mission to save the boys and their coach. During the brief press conference at Heathrow, Mr Stanton declined to answer any medical questions but said: "They were carefully handled".

Dom's grandmother, Kameay Promthep, said she would tell Dom never to go near the cave or water again because she doesn't want anything to happen to him or for him to cause trouble to others again. "Initially, we weren't certain they were all alive and as they were coming down I was counting them until I got to 13", said Mr Stanton.

'The diving conditions were extremely challenging, there was poor visibility and responsibility for another human being's life.

"The part we played has been made out to be a lot more noble than it actually was".

"We must remember the tragedy of Saman", Mr Dennis said.

Fellow diver Chris Jewell provided new details of the operation, describing how Thai authorities had diverted rivers on the mountaintop to help control water levels in the cave.

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