11 July 2024
One of the two Australians who were with the Wild Boars football team and helped them escape safely from the Tham Luong cave in Chiang Rai has revealed the boys and their coach were heavily sedated during the extraction operation, according to ABC.
Retired Perth vet Craig Challen explained how he worked closely with his friend and fellow expert cave diver, Adelaide anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris, to medically assess the boys and their coach and get them ready for the rescue operation, in an exclusive interview with the ABC’s Four Corners program.
In his first in-depth interview about the rescue operation, Dr Challen confirmed that the boys were heavily sedated.
“They did have some sedation to keep them calm, because the worst thing that could happen would be one of those guys panicking,” he said.
“If you put me in a full face mask with no previous experience and dragged me out of a cave for, it’s about a three hour trip, then I would be terrified and probably panicking as well.”
Dr Challen and Dr Harris were called in by Thai authorities and arrived in northern Thailand on July 6. They dived into the flooded cave the next day.
“They [the boys] were pretty unreservedly happy to see us, I think. I can’t imagine what it was like for them being in there nine days with no contact,” Dr Challen said.