The Hero Aussie Doctor Who Helped Save The Boys Trapped In Thai Cave
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As soon as the group of boys and their football coach were discovered trapped in a cave in Thailand, a complex and highly ambitious rescue operation was underway - one that we'll all remember as one of the most impressive we've heard about.
The route out of the caves was long, tricky and in many places heavily flooded - but if authorities were to leave them there for too long, the caves could fill up even more from further heavy rainfall expected to hit the area.
On hearing about their plight, Australian doctor Richard 'Harry' Harris ditched his holiday in Thailand and volunteered to help, making his way over to the caves before going in to assess the boys' health.
He then stayed with them for three days.
Harris helped pull together the complicated rescue plan, and it was under Harris' direction that the weakest boys were brought out of the cave first. And as well as that, he's believed to be one of the last of the rescue team to come out of the cave.
You can only imagine the elation of not only emerging from the cave complex that had trapped so many, but also knowing that you'd managed to help rescue all 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach must be the greatest relief ever.
However, celebrations for Harris were sadly cut short when he was struck by personal tragedy, as on Wednesday it transpired that Harris' father had died shortly after the rescue was completed.
South Australia's ambulance service, Harris' employer, explained that his family's grief had been 'magnified' by the physical and emotional toil of the difficult rescue operation.
"It has been a tumultuous week with highs and lows," Dr Andrew Pearce from MedSTAR said.
Asking for privacy for the family, he added: "Harry is a quiet and kind man who did not think twice about offering his support on this mission."
Shortly after the rescue, a 9News reporter asked acting Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotanakorn - the leader of the rescue mission - about Harris' role in the operation.
"[The Australians] have been a big help, especially the doctor," he said.
He also referred to Harris as 'very good - the very best'.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop also said he was an 'integral part' of the rescue attempt, adding that he was internationally renowned for his expertise in cave rescue.
Sue Crowe, a friend of Harris', told the BBC that he is an unassuming and selfless family man, whose calm demeanour would have no doubt been great comfort to the trapped children.
"He is brilliant with children, and he would have made sure that they were prepared in the best possible way from a cave-diving perspective," she said.
"He would have been the perfect person to support them."
Honestly, what an absolute hero.