11 July 2024

The British Cave Rescue Council has praised the Thai Navy SEAL rescue team for their courage in carrying out the rescue operation to extract the 12 Wild Boars footballers and their coach out of the flooded Tham Luang cave.

It said they were able to accomplish the mission despite the lack of “specialist equipment, knowledge and experience we all know to be necessary to operate safely in the harsh environment of a cave diving situation.”

In a statement to the Thai Navy SEAL on Tuesday, BCRC vice chairman Bill Whitehouse said the BCRC officers supporting and following the rescue operation from Britain have been in awe of the courage displayed by the Thai Navy SEALs and their achievement.

“Clearly, the SEALs were faced with having to do all they could to help save the boys with only the equipment and knowledge they had. To say that they were dangerous is a wrong interpretation of what the cave divers are saying.

“It would be much more accurate to say that they wittingly went “into danger” with the only kits and skills they had available to them and there can surely be no better measure of courage than that,” said Mr Whitehouse in the statement.

He also expressed his condolence for the death of former SEAL member, Lt-Commander Samarn Guna, who died while carrying out support operation in the cave.

Chris Jewell, one of the British cave divers who took part in the rescue mission also praised the Thai divers for the bravery. “From my perspective, the SEALs were extremely brave and talented divers – they simply aren’t used to operating in caves. However, it is a testament to their skill and adaptability that they managed to achieve what they did in an unfamiliar environment. It was also great to see the way in which they adapted and learnt throughout the operation – an admirable quality in cave diving,” he said.