Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has honoured the rescuers of the children in a flooded cave last year in a ceremony in Bangkok on Friday April 19th, Reuters reported.
Two Australian cave divers who were instrumental in the rescue last year of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach saved The “Wild Boars” soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach when they were trapped in the cave on June 23rd. A 17-day effort to rescue them gripped the world, with experts from various countries volunteering to help. Richard Harris and Craig Challen were members of the main rescue team, made up of 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy divers, who brought the boys and their coach out to safety.
They received the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn at Bangkok's Government House before meeting Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on their first trip back to Thailand since the rescue. They will travel to Chiang Rai and return to the Tham Luang cave on April 22nd to meet the boys and their coach. "That's really exciting for us to go and see them and make sure they're well and see how they're doing after the rescue," Harris said.
Harris, a physician specialising in anesthesia, was responsible for sedating the boys before they were brought out one-by-one on a rescue stretcher through flooded tunnels. In January the pair were named Australians of the Year, one of Australia's highest honours.
King Vajiralongkorn has conferred various honours on 187 people in connection with the rescue, 113 of them foreigners, including Tesla Inc Chief Executive, Elon Musk, who was involved in the effort, according to the Royal Gazette published in March.