Aussie cave divers presented with royal honours

Aussie cave divers presented with royal honours

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (left) shakes hands with Richard Harris, a doctor and cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a cave in Chiang Rai province last year. Looking on are Craig Challen and others who played a key role in the rescue efforts. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (left) shakes hands with Richard Harris, a doctor and cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a cave in Chiang Rai province last year. Looking on are Craig Challen and others who played a key role in the rescue efforts. (Government House photo)

Two Australian doctors were on Friday presented with royal honours for their roles in the perilous rescue of the Wild Boars youth football team from flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai last year.

Richard Harris and Craig Challen were given their awards at a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Four Australian officials involved with the rescue effort were also honoured.

Both highly skilled divers, the doctors played key roles in saving the 12 young footballers and their assistant coach in a dramatic rescue that gained worldwide attention last July.

They said before the award ceremony they were looking forward to going to the northern province on Monday to see how the boys were faring.

The youngsters entered the cave after football practice on June 23 for what was meant to be roughly a five-hour trek. 

While they were in there monsoon rains caused flash flooding in several chambers and blocked the exit.

The rescue mission was finally declared complete on July 10 -- a mission of unprecedented complexity that involved diving the boys out through twisting, flooded  passageways while they were heavily sedated. 



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