British cave divers in Tham Luang cave rescue mission honored by Queen Elizabeth II
The seven British cave divers who helped save the 12 Wild Boar footballers and their coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district of the northern province of Chiang Rai in July this year were among those awarded in Britain’s traditional New Year Honors.
Four of the divers were given awards for exceptional bravery while the three others were made Members of the Most Excellent Order of the Brithsm Empire (MBE).
Richard Stanton and John Volanthen – the first of the divers to reach the 12 stricken boys and their coach – were awarded the George Medal, Britain’s second highest civilian gallantry award.
Stanton had already been made an MBE in 2012 for his rescue services.
Divers Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson receive Queen Elizabeth II’s Gallantry Medal while Joshua Bratchley, Connor Roe and Vernon Unsworth were decorated with MBEs.
“For me, after saving the boys, this is the icing on the cake,” said Unsworth who has also risen in fame after suing Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk for branding him a “pedo guy”.
“This was a team effort and I am very honored to have been recognized, particularly as you don’t engage in a major rescue expecting this outcome,” added Unsworth.
The rescue effort – one of the biggest, most difficult and complicated – involved more than 10,000 people, including over 100 multi-national divers, many rescue workers, representatives from 100 government agencies, 2,000 soldiers and hundreds of policemen with ten police helicopters, over 700 diving cylinders and the pumping of more than a billion litres of water out of the flooded cave.
One former Thai Navy SEAL member, Saman Kunan, died of asphysiation on July 6 while returning to staging base in the base after delivering supplies of air.
From June 23 to July 10, the 18-day search and rescue operations captured worldwide attention and dominated global news headlines.