Australian Doctor Plays Crucial Role in Thai Cave Rescue Mission: Paper

By Thai PBS 9 July 2018

An Australian doctor is at the center of the ongoing attempt to rescue the young soccer players and their coach trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai Province.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Richard Harris, an anesthetist from Adelaide, Australia, has been one of the international dive experts seconded to assist with the difficult and dangerous rescue mission.

Dr. Harris on Saturday undertook the dangerous dive to reach the 12 Thai boys and their coach and later gave the final approval on the boys’ health, clearing the way for the rescue attempt which commenced yesterday and succeed in bringing out four of the survivors, the paper reported.

It is understood the British divers participating in the rescue specifically requested Dr. Harris and that he went back into the cave to help with the rescue effort.

David Strike, a dive event organizer, has known Dr. Harris for more than a decade. He said Dr. Harris had all the qualifications to undertake the rescue mission, according to the paper.

“He’s been diving for over 30 years and readily embraced advances in diving technology to better help him explore and photograph caves in Australia and overseas,” Strike told Fairfax Media.

“In the past few years he’s been involved in cave-diving explorations in Australia, China, Christmas Island and New Zealand. He has an active interest in diving safety and accident investigation.

“Quite apart from his own cave exploration experiences, as an anesthetist and a medical professional who is also involved in retrieval medicine, he has always struck me as a person who is capable of calmly assessing any situation and then acting appropriately.

“Richard is just one member of a team of uniquely qualified and extraordinary people prepared to sacrifice their own comfort, safety and wellbeing for the benefit of others. It’s an over-used term, but all of those involved are true heroes,” Strike was quoted as saying by the paper.