Rescuers reveal Thailand rescue almost failed

‘They seemed to find it quite relaxing and reassuring’: Australian diver’s ‘bouncy Australian accent’ helped soothe Thai soccer team and their coach as he lead them out of the depths of the cave complex

  • Australian doctor is hailed as a hero of Thai people after the successful mission
  • Dr Richard Harris used his Australian accent to relax the soccer team and coach
  • The Doctors dive partner, Craig Challen, was initially pessimistic about rescue
  • Leaders of the Thai cave rescue have revealed how close mission came to failure
  • All 12 boys and their soccer coach were freed from the cave complex 

Australian doctor Richard Harris (pictured) has been described as the ‘hero of the Thai people’ as he used his Australian accent to soothe the trapped boys

Doctor Richard Harris’ Australian accent helped soothe the trapped soccer team and their coach as he worked to free them from the depths of a cave in Thailand.

The anesthetist, from Adelaide, has been hailed as a ‘hero of the Thai people’ after all 12 boys and the coach, 25, were freed from the cave complex in Chiang Rai on Tuesday after an arduous mission. 

Dr Harris and a team of experienced cave divers from around the world worked for days to free the group, who were stuck inside the cave for two weeks.  

The 53-year-old built a strong rapport with the trapped boys, building their confidence ahead of the successful rescue mission, News Corp reported. 

Dr Harris gave the boys anti-anxiety medication so they would relax during the long journey out of the cave.

While the dosage helped, his accent has also been credited with soothing the stressed teens.     

British diver John Volanthen, 47, who found the boys and their coach inside the cave system, said Dr Harris’ bouncy Australian accent was ‘relaxing and reassuring’ to the boys.

‘Dr Harry, the Australian doctor, he’s very good, he’s got a very good bedside manner, he’s got a very bouncy Australian accent, and they seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring,’ he said after landing at Heathrow airport.

The doctor and his Australian dive partner vet, Craig Challen, sent a message of thanks after the final group of boys were rescued on Thursday night.

‘The favourable outcome that has been achieved is almost beyond our imagination when we first became involved in this operation.’

‘We are humbled to have been able to provide our expertise and experience to assist in this international operation led by the Thai government.’

The rescued boys are now recovering in hospital (pictured) following the rescue mission where Dr Harris built a strong rapport with the team and their coach

Dr Harris (right) and his diving partner, Craig Challen, (left) were about to leave for a holiday when they got the call to assist in Thailand

Dr Harris received an outpouring of support after it emerged his father had died just hours after rescue. 

There has already been conversation in Hollywood about producing a movie focused on the role of the ‘extraordinary Australian.’

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Despite Dr Harris lifting the spirits of the trapped boys, it has been revealed Mr Challen was initially pessimistic about the rescue mission.

‘He did hold concerns for the whole situation. I think he went over there with a bit of a pessimistic view – he thought it was going to be a real challenge to get the boys out alive,’ Heather Endall told ABC radio. 

Mr Challen’s partner said he was pessimistic about the rescue mission as it’s reported that the successful mission almost didn’t happen as it was feared oxygen would run out

The final plan for the rescuers was to place oxygen cylinders and a guide rope along the route out of the cave

‘He didn’t actually display any regard for his own safety.’ 

Dr Harris and Mr Challen, who were among 20 Australians involved in the rescue, were about to leave for a holiday to the Nullarbor together when they got the call to travel to Thailand.

Within an hour, they were on their way to Thailand to assist in the rescue mission that almost failed.

Rear admiral Apakorn Youkongkaew, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, said they feared time would run out before they were able to safely retrieve all of those who were stranded: ‘Oxygen was decreasing and the kids were becoming drowsy,’ Apakorn said.

‘What will we do? We had such time constraints. Finally, we got a plan from the international divers. I’m so glad. We approved it.’

The final plan for the rescuers was to place oxygen cylinders and a guide rope along the route out of the cave.

All 12 boys and their soccer coach were freed from the cave complex in Chiang Rai after an arduous mission that involved the assistance of 20 Australians

 

 

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