Thai cave rescue: Father dies after hero doctor's successful mission

Twelve Thai boys and their football coach rescued from a flooded cave after being trapped attend a press conference in Chiang Rai

Dr Richard Harris speaks to the media outside his Adelaide home. At that point, the rescue plan was already in place.

He has since received widespread praise on social media, with many calling for him to be named Australian of the Year-the nation's highest civic honour.

All 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their coach are thought to have became trapped four kilometres into the cave after entering as a rite of passage. They had been missing for a week before they were located.

The anaesthetist's medical training and 30 years of experience diving some of the world's deepest and most challenging caves meant he played a critical role in the rescue operation. He decided who of the group needed be led out the quickest while who could wait longer.

A nail-biting three-day mission to rescue the boys in groups ended successfully on July 10.

The Australian Federal (AFP) police said the scale and risk of the operation was "unprecedented", the ABC reported. British divers found them last week.

LEGENDARY Australian doctor and hero diver Richard Harris has penned a touching and emotional account of how their Thai cave rescue mission became a reality.

An American diver involved in the rescue that the "kids were proper knocked out".

Dr Andrew Pearce talks about his colleague, doctor Richard "Harry" Harris, who helped with the rescue of the trapped boys in Thailand.

"It wasn't unsafe for us but I can't emphasise enough how risky it was for the kids", Mr Challen said.

"Thank you, Richard and thank you, Australia!"

The boys have thanked officials and well-wishers as they recover, using recorded messages.

"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is nearly beyond our imagination when we first became involved". "We are humbled to have been able to provide our expertise and experience to assist in this global operation led by the Thai government".

Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull, in a video he released of a conversation with Dr Harris, offered his condolences and congratulations.

When the kids and coach were delivered to chamber 3, the United States pararescue teams, AFP SRG divers, Aussie CD, Chinese divers and Thai Navy and Military medics assessed the kids, then whisked them out of the cave to a field hospital before moving them to the massive hospital in Chang Rai centre.

"I think it is a miracle. We wish them a speedy recovery".

The boys, some wrapped in emergency blankets, appear to be in good spirits despite their ordeal.

Kiwi diver recalls "laborious" Thai cave rescue.

He was part of a team of 20 Australians involved in the Thai-led rescue effort, and has been described as an integral part of the rescue.

"No worries", Dr Harris is heard replying.

The efforts of Harris were made all the more profound in recent days, when it was revealed that his father had passed away during his time in Thailand.

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said all the Australians involved would be receiving formal recognition for their efforts. Local climbing and rope access workers rigged the dry cave section for that part of the rescue and scoured the bush for more entrances to the cave. "He is internationally renowned for his expertise in cave rescues".

Harris is an experienced diver and an underwater photographer, and has undertaken cave-diving expeditions in Australia, New Zealand, Christmas Island and China.

"There was an unbelievable bunch of people to work with during the rescue from both Australia and overseas", he said on Saturday.

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