Australian cave rescue hero Richard Harris' sad return home
Tragedy has struck the Australian doctor at the heart of the rescue of the young Thai soccer team with the death of his father, soon after the remaining boys and their coach escaped their cave prison.
Adelaide anaesthetist and underwater cave explorer Richard “Harry” Harris risked his own life to make the treacherous journey to the underground chamber where the group was trapped for two weeks.
But as the successful rescue was completed on Tuesday, Dr Harris’ father passed away, his boss and MedSTAR clinical director Andrew Pearce says.
Dr Harris is being credited with a genius medical move that helped the boys and their coach survive their escape.
Dr Harris, an expert diver from Adelaide, was on a ledge deep within the cave administering a mild sedative to each of the boys as they were rescued, ensuring they would not panic during the swim.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop praised the "extraordinary efforts" of 20 Australians directly involved in the remarkable rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach.
"It is a remarkable outcome, the end of an extraordinary ordeal," she told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program this morning.
The Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed all workers involved in the dangerous rescue mission, including the Australians, were safe and well after she contacted Australia’s Embassy in Bangkok overnight.
She paid tribute to all involved in the operation and particularly Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who tragically lost his life in the effort to free the boys.
"We are absolutely delighted that our rescue team has been able to assist the Thai authorities and the international rescue teams to bring about this quite remarkable result," Ms Bishop told Nine Network on Wednesday. "This is what Australians do so well.
"Under our aid program, we have tragically many opportunities to support neighbours in times of crisis and so this is just another example of Australia being a good friend, a good neighbour, and helping out when it is needed."
"We do of course recall that one volunteer did die in the course of this incredible process of extracting the boys from the cave, and we feel for his family," she said.
"But there has now been this quite remarkable outcome. The ordeal is over."