Australian anaesthetist and experienced diver Richard ‘Harry’ Harris has posted a message to his Facebook personally thanking everyone involved in the rescue of the 12 boys and their assistant coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Thailand, earlier this week.

The Wild Boars are currently at a Chiang Rai hospital in quarantine recovering from the 17-day ordeal that claimed one life – former Thai Navy SEAL diver, Saman Kunan.

The boys are currently being held in quarantine for seven days. Three of the boys reportedly have slight lung infections. 

Harris posted the message on behalf of his long-time caving buddy, Craig Challen, and begun the message by telling us they were sitting on the back of an “RAAF C17 on the way back to Australia”. 

Harris felt this was the “first opportunity to really stop and reflect on the extraordinary events of the past 8 days since Craig and I were deployed as a small AUSMAT team to the rescue in Chang Rai in Northern Thailand.”

At the request of Thai authorities, Harris entered the cave to assess the boys and their coach before rescuers attempted the operation.

By the time we arrived on site, local divers like Ben Reymenants and the awesome foursome from Britain (John Volanthen, Rick Stanton, Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewell) had already been doing the most extraordinary dives through the cave and laying the very robust rope which made all subsequent dives to the soccer team not only possible, but safe.

Harris also thanked everyone involved in the rescue operation for their hard work and strong spirits throughout:

I wanted to write this to try and give credit to all the people who were in some way involved. 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. 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.

You can read the full post, below:

Harris’ father sadly died a short time after the rescue operation in Thailand.

MedSTAR Director of Clinical Services Dr Andrew Pearce confirmed the news saying, “Harry’s dad would have been extremely proud that he would have put himself out there to do what he’s able to do.”

The Thai Navy SEALs shared their condolences on their Facebook page:

Image: Facebook / Richard Harris