A strong Aussie accent echoing deep inside the Tham Luang cave proved a key element to the successful Thai rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach, British rescuer John Volanthen has revealed.
Mr Volanthen, 47, and fellow Brit Rick Stanton, 56, the divers who first located the 12 boys in the cave, have praised the contribution of Adelaide doctor Richard “Harry” Harris while speaking about the rescue mission on their return to the UK.
“[H]e’s got a very bouncy Australian accent, and they seemed to find that quite relaxing and reassuring,” Mr Volanthen told reporters at Heathrow Airport, upon his return from Thailand.
Dr Harris decided the order in which the boys could leave the cave, after conducting health assessments determining who needed to leave most urgently.
The heroic doctor’s calm manner was essential in preparing the boys for their journey.
“Dr Harry, the Australian doctor, he’s very good, he’s got a very good bedside manner,” said Mr Volanthen.
Dr Harris has played down his heroics and maintained that the children he helped should be praised for their courage during the rescue mission.
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“The big heroes in this are these children and the four Thai navy seals who were looking after them. They’re the toughest blokes and kids I’ve ever had the privilege to meet,” Dr Harris said in a Skype call to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday morning.
“They were the ones who were responsible for their own morale and really, their own safety, and without them being in the state they were in, we couldn’t have done anything,” Dr Harris said.