‘We’re no heroes’: British divers who rescued trapped Thai boys from cave reject suggestions of knighthood, saying anyone would do the same
- Rick Stanton and John Volanthen ‘proud to help’ but do not want to be knighted
- Volanthen said: ‘If you could do the same for someone else’s child, you would’
- Another British diver, Jason Mallinson, insisted: ‘We’re not heroes’
- His mother, Anne, said her son ‘never wants to be in the limelight’
John Volanthen, an IT consultant from Bristol, said ‘the result is the important thing’
The daring British divers who played key roles in the rescue last night rejected suggestions that they are heroes who should be knighted.
‘It’s not like that – if you could do the same for someone else’s child, you would,’ said John Volanthen, 47, an IT consultant from Bristol.
‘The result is the important thing. The kids came out, the coach is good, the [Thai navy] Seals are good – job done.
‘So we’re pleased with that.’
Retired Coventry firefighter Rick Stanton, 56, said: ‘It seems to have lifted the whole country. It all went according to plan. The boys did well.’
The pair initially located the boys and their coach, then led their rescue through a flooded cave two-and-a-half miles inside a mountain.
But amid calls for them to be knighted, the two shy Britons modestly downplayed their triumph.
Told he was a national hero, Mr Volanthen protested: ‘It’s not like that. If you could do the same for someone else’s child, you would.
British hero divers, John Volanthen, left, with Rick Stanton, at a party thrown in their honour at the Le Meridien hotel in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand after they helped rescue 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded Thai cave
The rescue in progress, above. The daring British divers who played key roles in saving the 12 young boys and their coach last night rejected suggestions that they are heroes who should be knighted
‘I can’t explain why, but it’s not like that. It’s just…it worked.’
This incredible ‘it’ involved discovering the lost children, whom not even special forces could find, and then leading their stunning rescue from a hideous dungeon-like cavern three miles inside a mountain.
Speaking for the first time to the Mail, the understated duo said they were ‘pleased’ to have helped.
Another of the British divers involved in the rescue, Jason Mallinson, 50, from Huddersfield, insisted: ‘We’re not heroes.
‘It was a difficult mission but we succeeded and the results speak for themselves. I feel good – now it’s over. It will be good to get home.’
He and Mr Volanthen opted to fly back to Britain last night even though they could have lapped up admiration from millions of Thais who threw wild street parties all over the country in their honour.
Moment the Thai cave boys are pulled out of the flooded…
Rescued Thai cave boys smile and wave from their hospital…
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Now there are calls for the brave British potholers – nine in total – to be honoured at Buckingham Palace.
Writing on Twitter, former Conservative Party treasurer Lord Ashcroft suggested Mr Stanton and Mr Volanthen could be awarded the George Cross or the George Medal for their gallantry.
Others called for the pair to be given knighthoods, while Oscar-winning US actress Marlee Matlin tweeted: ‘Oceans of gratitude to the British Thai cave divers.’
Mr Volanthen’s mother, Jill, said: ‘I would like to thank everybody for all their team work to get the lads out – it is absolutely lovely.’
Jason Mallinson, one of the hero cave divers who helped rescue 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves in Thailand is from Huddersfield. His mum, Anne, said ‘We are so proud of Jason’
Referring to a Thai diver who died during the operation, she added: ‘We are absolutely so proud, but my sympathy is with the wife and family of the diver who lost his life.’
Mr Mallinson’s mother Anne, speaking at her home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said: ‘We are so proud of Jason. I have had sleepless nights. I sit here with worry but I know he is doing what he must do and he loves it.’
She said: ‘The operation escalated so quickly. I think Jason was really worried with how dangerous the situation was.’
She said her son ‘never wants to be in the limelight’, adding: ‘That is exactly how he is – he has never wanted praise, he just sees it as something he has to do.
‘The fact there were children involved made this one extra special for him and I can’t put into words my pride.’
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