Hero Aussie Doctor In Thai Cave Rescue Breaks Silence
The Australian anesthesiologist and his dive partner Craig Challen were key to the boys' rescue.
The hero Aussie doctor at the heart of the dramatic cave rescue in Thailand has issued his first statement, thanking the public for their support.
Dr Richard Harris and his dive buddy Craig Challen were heavily involved in the rescue of the 12 children and their soccer coach, giving the final all-clear for the boys to be removed.
"We would like to thank everyone for the messages of support we have received following the successful extraction of the team and Royal Thai Navy Seals from the cave," they said in a joint statement.
"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is almost beyond our imagination when we first became involved in this operation."
The pair said they were "humbled" to have lent their expertise to the Thai-led rescue team, adding that their "greatest admiration" goes to the British lead divers.
But perhaps most importantly, the pair thanked the very people they were saving.
"We particularly would like to thank the players and their coach for placing their trust in us. We wish them a speedy recovery."
"The big heros in this are these children and the four Thai Navy SEALs who were looking after them. They are the toughest blokes and kids I've ever had the privilege to meet," said Harris on the phone.
"They are the ones who were responsible for their own morale and really their own safety and without them being in the state they were in, we couldn't have done anything."
Earlier on Thursday, footage emerged of the boys recovering in hospital, sitting up and even waving at the camera, while their parents watched from behind the glass.
Sadly, the Adelaide doctor emerged from the cave on Tuesday night to learn that his father had passed away.
"Our condolences to Dr Richard Harris, one of the leading rescuers whose father just passed away hours after his rescue mission had been completed," the Thai Navy Seals wrote on Facebook.
"We wish you the best for this very tough time. We never thank you enough for what you’ve done for the kids, their families and Thailand. Thank you, Richard and thank you, Australia!"