11 July 2024

The Australian doctor involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue has revealed that he taught divers how to administer dangerous anaesthetic drugs so they could sedate the Wild Boar team mid-rescue, according to ABC News Australia.

Dr Richard Harris provided the new details following a ceremony at Government House in Adelaide on Thursday, where he received a standing ovation.

He said the anaesthetic used during the dangerous rescue only lasted up to an hour, and it took about three hours to get each of the 12 boys and their soccer coach out.

“I had to basically teach the other cavers, the divers, to re-administer the sedation when the time was right,” Dr Harris said.

“All the children needed re-sedation at different times on the way out.”

Dr Harris praised the courage of the other divers for administering dangerous anaesthetic drugs to the young children while they were in the middle of the cave rescue.

“They took that on themselves to administer essentially life-threatening anaesthetic drugs to kids to keep them sedated enough to get them out of the cave, and I cannot tell you how impressed I am with those blokes,” he said.

The ceremony at Government House came only two days after Dr Harris and his dive partner, West Australian vet Craig Challen, were presented with the second-highest Australian bravery decoration for “acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril” by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove in Canberra.

They, and seven other Australian involved in the cave rescue, were also awarded an Order of the Medal of Australia after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to fast-track the process to bestow official honours.

Speaking at the Adelaide ceremony, Dr Harris said at many times during the operation, the prospect of success looked bleak.

“The sense of responsibility for those little kids was overwhelming, and … the fact that our rescue strategy worked, and not just once but 13 times, still seems beyond the realms of possibility and I’m pinching myself that this has been the outcome,” he said.