Thai cave rescue: Dr Richard Harris emerges after the heroic mission to find out his father died
Dr Harris risked his life in an attempt to save the young football team and was the last person to emerge out of the flooded underground cave in Thailand after a daring mission.
Dr. Richard Harris, who played a crucial role in the heroic rescue mission of 12 boys and their coach from inside a Thai cave, emerged from the flooded tunnels only to be informed that his father had died. The Australian doctor has been hailed as a 'Hero,' for keeping the boys and their coach alive after they were stranded in the Thai cave for over two weeks.
Dr Harris risked his life in an attempt to save the young football team and was the last person to emerge out of the flooded underground cave after the daring rescue mission. He was told the sad news about his father on Tuesday.
Dr Harris' superior and MedSTAR clinical director, Andrew Pearce, said: "It is with great sadness that I confirm Harry's dad passed away last night a short time after the successful rescue operation in Thailand."
"This is clearly a time of grief for the Harris family, magnified by the physical and emotional demands of being part of this week's highly complex and ultimately successful rescue operation. He will be coming home soon and taking some well-earned time off to be with his family," Pearce added, as reported by Daily Mail.
The 12 teenage boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach were first spotted by a team of elite British divers last week on Monday who volunteered to help in the search and rescue efforts. The divers — one of the best in the world — succeeded in spotting the team huddled together on a rocky slope in the darkness, emaciated.
The soccer team, which calls themselves Wild Boar, was found at night, days after they went missing during an excursion with their coach when they decided to walk into the Tham Luang cave network on June 23 and were trapped because of the rising waters.
The 53-year-old doctor from Adelaide stayed with the boys and their coach right after they were found till after they were successfully rescued and was deemed "essential" to the entire operation because of his unique skills and expertise.
Dr Harris, who is internationally known for his work as a doctor, has 30 years of cave diving experience and works as a medical retrieval specialist with South Australia's MedSTAR service.
Dr Pearce after the success of the mission said: "All the team at SA Ambulance Service is incredibly proud of Dr Harris. It has been a tumultuous week with highs and lows. We are delighted that Harry and the boys are safe and that he was able to play such a remarkable role in the Australian response."
"Harry is a quiet and kind man who did not think twice about offering his support on this mission," Dr Pearce added.
Dr Harris, during the entire daring search and rescue mission, was hailed for an ingenious medical idea which assisted in keeping the stranded boys stay calm during their 1.7km swim to surface.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Dr Harris administered a mild sedative to the boys inside the cave to ensure that the inexperienced swimmers in the group did not panic in the water. He also assessed the boys' health and was the medic who cleared the way for the dangerous operation to continue.
Dr Harris reportedly also played a crucial role in changing the initial plan of the Thai rescue crew to bring out the strongest boys first. He convinced the crew that the weakest one should be rescued first as they would not have a strong chance of survival if they were left behind.
Reports state that the Thai rescue thought they the weaker ones would have had more chance of making it to safety if they stayed behind and built up strength while the stronger ones were taken out.
Australia played an important role in the entire search and rescue process and sent 19 personnel, including six military divers and Dr Harris, to assist in the process.