British Diver Who Helped Rescue Trapped Boys in Thailand Returns to UK

Some of the boys wave from their hospital beds

READ MORERescued Thai boys wave to world in video

Volanthen also expressed condolences to the family of volunteer diver Saman Gunan, the retired Thai Navy SEAL who lost consciousness during an overnight operation delivering extra air tanks inside the cave and was confirmed dead on Friday.

The father of 14-year-old Ekkarat Wongsukchan said the coach dived into the water to see their circumstances once they became trapped, and drew arrows on the cave wall so no one became lost.

Dom's grandmother, Kameay Promthep, said she would tell Dom never to go near the cave or water again because she doesn't want anything to happen to him or for him to cause trouble to others again.

Rick Stanton, who was the first to reach the group along with his colleague, John Volanthen, has today spoken of his relief when he found them all alive.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, had to dive for part of their journey out before they were put on plastic toboggan-like stretchers and carried, at times through steep, rocky tunnels, with ropes strung overhead.

"Great work and we really appreciate it", a Thai military official said as he bestowed on the men the souvenir medals during a ceremony at Chiang Rai airport. "When they were hungry Coach Ek would use a flashlight to shine on the stalactites above", he said.

The parents have been anxiously awaiting the return of their boys for more than two weeks.

British cave-diver John Volanthen walks out from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in full kit without any response to reporter's questions, June 28, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

"We gave them a little bit of extra light, they still had light, they looked in good health".

The film company says they are now in talks with "senior officials in Thailand both on provincial and national levels".

The rescue gripped the world, with much praise focusing on the navy SEALs and worldwide team of divers who helped them, toiling for days in risky conditions to get the boys out.

The Thai Navy SEAL commander said the Royal Thai Navy is always prepared to respond to disasters in the country, stressing his belief in the capabilities of all officials, and thanked for the dedication from all personnel and support from the general public.

"We are not heroes", he said.

"We don't see the children as at fault or as heroes". He's got a very bouncy Australian accent and they [the rescued boys] seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring.

"Meanwhile on the ground, the Thais and global community sent in swarms of men and women to provide everything from catering, communications, media and of course the huge teams of workers filling the cave with tonnes and tonnes of equipment to try and lower the water and sustain the diving operations", Dr Harris wrote.

"How many of you?" he asked, a torch beam scanning the boys crowded on the bank.

Latest News