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The untold story of the daring cave divers who saved the Thai soccer team

Discussion in 'Search and Rescue' started by kelemvor, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
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  2. Compressor

    Compressor ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Thank you Kelemvor. The story still fascinates me.
     
  3. Jiminy

    Jiminy Barracuda

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    Location: East Coast
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    I think the sedation of the boys and the doctors doing it getting immunity from the thai government is a interesting part of the story
     
  4. Micheal

    Micheal NAUI Instructor

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    Location: Florida
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    I have read and watched many stories and videos on this event. Each one, has a least 1 detail that the other stories did not have. It truly is a fascinating tale. That said, I would love to see more attention being giving to these men and women who rescued these kids. These are real freaking hero's. None of them should be paying taxes the rest of their lives, free drinks in Thailand for ever.

    God bless them all, this is what being human is about.
     
  5. Neilwood

    Neilwood Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Scotland
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    There is a huge focus on the divers that performed the actual rescues (which were undoubtedly heroic IMHO) but the truth of the matter is that everything involved in the process made it possible. The divers were the tip of the spear but there was a hell of a lot going on behind them.

    1) The commander on the ground knew enough to know he needed help
    2) The Thai navy seals knew they didn't have the expertise
    3) The cave divers were available & willing to go
    4) The effort involved in pumping the sumps as dry as they did
    5) Weather conditions improved enough to help
    6) The assistance provided by volunteers to feed everyone
    7) The amount of materials provided (tanks, ropes, etc)
    8) Knowledge of the cave layout by ex-pat divers
    and so on.

    If any one of those factors turned out fractionally different, who knows what the outcome might have been?
     
    vovanx and Dark Wolf like this.
  6. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

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    I am not entirely sure the first couple were entirely the case, at least early on.

    From the account given at Eurotech it sounded like they got there, watched what was happening and eventually went into the cave almost freelance. Even once they found people (not the children) nothing much changed, and it wasn’t until the children were found that it started to move.

    It is good that the position changed and they got the support to get them out.
     
  7. Erik Forsberg

    Erik Forsberg Sea Corgi

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    There is a great interview on the Speaking Sidemount podcast with one of the rescuers as well. Well recommended!
     
  8. Dr Simon Mitchell

    Dr Simon Mitchell Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    Ken is right, but my own take is that the change of perspective from "we can handle this" to embracing help from the recreational cave diving community is even more meritorious and worthy of praise. I suspect that in many countries the hubris of the military would have prevented a face-losing change of direction like this.

    Simon
     
    StefinSB, Dark Wolf, Storker and 6 others like this.
  9. Compressor

    Compressor ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I want to tell a story that is related to this thread: I remember being at work and people were coming to me as a diver and anesthesiologist asking me a multitude of questions on many aspects of diving in caves. Some questions were rudimentary some more complex. I remember being on edge for a few days as many thoughts came to my mind as how to rescue these kids and their coach while keeping the rescuers safe as well.

    I remember telling people that panic in the kids will lead to almost certain drowning. My colleagues were joking about providing sedation in dive situation saying if we could only sedate the children underwater. Deep in thought I told them their are only a few drugs that will work; 2 drugs came to mind: ketamine and dexmedetomidine. Both have different cardiovascular side effects and mechanism of action is different. However the common thread is that the patient (and the divers) will maintain spontaneous ventilation if the correct amount of drug was used.

    To my surprise, I found later that at least one of these drugs were used in the rescue. I was in cloud nine not because they did what I thought would work but because the kids were saved. Even today, I marvel at the rescue of these children and their coach with minimal loss of life. I think it will go in the history books as one of the greatest rescues in history. I still marvel at the bravery of the rescuers. As you may know, one of the rescuers was an anesthesiologist. Kudos to him and the other uber brave rescuers.
     
    RayfromTX, Storker, TrimixToo and 4 others like this.
  10. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
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    The highlight of my recent trip to OZTek in Sydney last weekend was the 1hr talk by Australian cave rescuers Craig Challen and Dr Richard Harris. Each spoke in detail for 30mins and then questions at the end... three detailed questions by other 'Dr Divers'.

    One of the big takeouts was how Dr Harris had originally discounted sedating the kids early on as the risks were deemed too great. As time progressed Ketamine became the 'least worst' option... he was then resigned to a level of fatalities, but thought at the most optimistic 50% would make it out alive.

    He had to send the first two off with no immediate way of knowing if they had survived or not, so delayed sending others till he heard back via the chain of divers and helpers along the route. Another issue was having to keep the kids in the sedated state along the rescue route (which took 2-3 hours) via additional doses delivered IM into their leg through their wetsuits... appropriate doses for Big Kids or Small Kids were set up in bags to be administered by local helpers given a crash course in medicine. Dr Harris admitted he was amazed, but delighted the success rate was 100%.

    An amazing team effort by all concerned!
     

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