The Australian doctor who undertook the dangerous dive through to the 12 Thai boys and their coach on Saturday is Richard Harris, an anaesthetist from Adelaide, who has spent time diving and cataloguing caves in New Zealand’s South Island.
Dr Harris is said to be a diving expert and gave final approval on the boys’ health, clearing the way for the rescue attempt which is now underway.
Word is that the British divers participating in the rescue specifically requested him, and that he is back in the cave helping in the rescue effort right now.
Harris has been diving for over 30 years, and has specialty interest in diving safety and accident investigation.
A page on the Oztek conference website revealed his extensive background in diving and perhaps some of the reasons why he was specifically requested to help out.
He’s been part of a group called Wetmules, which have actively been cataloguing caves and subterranean environments around the world.
One of those was New Resurgence, a previously unexplored cave in the Mount Arthur region of the northwest South Island .
Harris posted video of his team’s dive on Vimeo, saying “We managed to penetrate 200m to a maximum depth of 25m in very high flows and poor visibility.”
Harris has an extensive background in cave diving – In 2009 he was the recipient of the OZTeK’09 ‘Outstanding Achievement’ Award to mark his exceptional contributions to cave diving exploration. – Sydney Morning Herald