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The Latest from the Field - Thai Cave Rescue

Since June 23rd, the world has been fixated on the 12 young Thai soccer players and their “Wild Boars” coach, trapped by flood waters more than 2 miles inside the Tham Luang Nang Non Cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province.

After 10 days, the boys were finally located grouped together on a ledge just above the water line.  At this point, heroic efforts to rescue them began.  SEAL Teams from around the world joined the highly skilled Thai SEALS who were already at the scene.  They were joined by some of the world’s top caving experts who mapped out and executed one of the most intricate and dangerous cave rescues ever attempted.

We are privileged to share with you that Explorers Club Australia/New Zealand Chapter member Dr. Richard Harris FI’09, one of the world’s most distinguished and recognized caving experts, was summoned by both Thai and British rescue leaders to join them in Mae Sai, Thailand.

Dr. Harris immediately departed Adelaide for Thailand and played an instrumental and leading role in the rescue planning and execution.

As one of the first into the cave to reach the boys, Dr. Harris was also the last one out, after the successful rescue was complete.  The enormity of his contribution was critical to the successful return of the 12 boys and their coach.

We couldn’t be more proud of Dr. Harris’ work. Additionally, we are proud of the Club members who are caving and diving experts that shared their expertise and guidance with worldwide media:

  •    Dr. Richard Harris FI’09 speaks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the rescue, via CNN
  •    Australian Report on the mission of Dr. Richard Harris FI’09, via ABC.net
  •    Bill Steele FE’79 penned a special OP-ED piece on caving for the Washington Post
  •    Tim Taylor FN’04 appeared on a special NBC Today Show report
  •    Christine Dennison FR’03 appeared from New York on CNN Worldwide

The anxiety surrounding the rescue was felt worldwide.
The relief in its success was shared worldwide.
The pride of The Explorers Club in the roles played by our members is a lasting honor.

On a sad note - as Dr. Harris emerged from the cave following the heroic rescue of the last boy and his coach, he learned from his trusted colleagues that his father had passed away. We all join in extending our very deepest and most profound sympathy to Dr. Harris and his entire family.

Wishing you a most successful and safe summer of expeditions.

Most Cordially,
Bill Liss

Communications Chair
Member of The Explorers Club Board of Directors


Dr. Richard Harris (back row, center) and dive partner Craig Challen (back row, left) with medical staff at Chiang Rai Hospital

Published by : Explorers Club Staff

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste