Aussie cave diver pays tribute to everyone involved in Thai rescue
Dr Richard Harris has praised the efforts of everyone involved in the successful cave dive rescue of 12 trapped boys and their football coach in Thailand.
Posting a message to Facebook along with a photo and himself and dive partner Craig Challen in the back of an RAAF C17 transport aircraft, Dr Harris reflected on "the extraordinary events of the past eight days".
Dr Harris and Mr Challen were deployed as part of a small Australian medical assistance team (AUSMAT) sent to the rescue in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand.
The Adelaide doctor, who was tasked with giving the medical all-clear for each evacuation and decided what order the boys would leave the cave in, was the last person out of the cave following the daring mission.
Dr Harris said in the lengthy Facebook post that he wanted to write a message that could "give credit to all the people who were in some way involved" in the rescue.
"Craig and I have had a spotlight on our efforts and we want to make everyone realise that while we might have become the face of this rescue for some reason, everyone should know that the role we played was no more or less important than all the many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people I have mentioned," Dr Harris wrote.
"The part we played has been made out to be a lot more noble than it actually was, we just consider ourselves lucky to have had some skills that we could contribute to the wonderful outcome."
Dr Harris specifically noted the efforts of the four British divers who led the search for the soccer team and laid the rope which would eventually be used to bring the 13 out of the cave.
"The efforts and skill of these guys in blazing this trail cannot be underestimated," Dr Harris said.
"Following someone else's line is very much easier than finding your own way."
He thanked the pairs' families for dealing with the media and the "worry we caused them" as well as sending "heartfelt condolences" to the family of former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan who died during the rescue efforts.
He also acknowledged the support the pair had received from people around the world.
"Finally to the thousands of well-wishers from Thailand and around the world; we promise we have read every message!" he wrote.