Richard Harris has 30 years of cave-diving experience and was asked to join the operation by name.
Colleagues of the Australian doctor who played a central role in the Thailand cave rescue have praised his actions in helping bring the 12 boys and their coach to safety.
Dr Richard “Harry” Harris was described as “essential” to the rescue operation because of his unique skills and expertise, including 30 years of cave diving and his work as a medical retrieval specialist.
He was asked for by name to join the rescue mission after his abilities had earned him a worldwide reputation.
Harris signed off on the health of the boys before each rescue began and did not emerge from the cave until each day’s rescue had been completed.
After completion of the rescue effort on Tuesday night, Harris learned his own father had died.
Dr Andrew Pearce, Harris’ boss at South Australian Ambulance’s medical retrieval service MedStar, said on Wednesday the doctor had “given his all”.
Harris was supposed to be on holiday when the British diving team leading the rescue effort requested his expertise.
“As you can imagine from what’s been in the media all week it is not a holiday that Harry has been on,” Pearce said. “Harry has been working extremely hard.
“Harry has put the mission out there as the number one thing to do and to look after those boys and to be part of a multinational team to be able to bring them safely home.”
Pearce said Harris, who has declined to speak to media, was being offered support after his father’s sudden death.
“Harry’s given his all, his family have given the support and we’ve given the support as well as an organisation,” he said.
“We now need Harry to be able to be looked after, and Harry’s family to be able to be looked after, and just give them the time and space to get over this really tough event especially after Harry’s put so much into the rescue effort over in Thailand.”
Source : TheGuardian