COUNTY NEWS: Thailand cave rescue diver grew up in Sussex

British divers Rick Stanton (right) and John Volanthen (left) were the first to reach twelve trapped schoolboy footballers in the waters of the cave system in Tham Luang, Thailand (Photograph: SWNS) SUS-180307-112145001
British divers Rick Stanton (right) and John Volanthen (left) were the first to reach twelve trapped schoolboy footballers in the waters of the cave system in Tham Luang, Thailand (Photograph: SWNS) SUS-180307-112145001

One of the divers who found a group of Thai boys and their football coach in a cave grew up in Sussex.

British cave divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were the first on the scene where the 12 boys were discovered.

British divers Rick Stanton (right) and John Volanthen (left) were the first to reach twelve trapped schoolboy footballers in the waters of the cave system in Tham Luang, Thailand (Photograph: SWNS) SUS-180307-112156001

British divers Rick Stanton (right) and John Volanthen (left) were the first to reach twelve trapped schoolboy footballers in the waters of the cave system in Tham Luang, Thailand (Photograph: SWNS) SUS-180307-112156001

The group had gone missing in Luang Nang Non Cave, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand on Saturday, June 23.

Three qualified and experienced cave divers, part of the The British Cave Rescue Council overseas diving rescue team, flew from Heathrow Airport on Tuesday evening (June 26) for Thailand, to assist with the rescue efforts.

One of them was Mr Volanthen, an IT technician living in Bristol, who grew up in Brighton, the BBC reported.

Longhill High School said: “Great news that the boys and their coach, trapped in a cave in Thailand, have been found alive. Proud to learn that John Volanthen, a world class cave rescuer & the first rescuer to speak to them, is an ex student of @LonghillSchool. We wish them a safe and speedy rescue mission.”

In an update yesterday (July 2), The British Cave Rescue Council said: “Around 16:30h this afternoon, we started to receive the remarkable news that all 12 of the boys and their coach had been located in a dry air space south of the Pattaya Beach area of Tham Luang Nang Non Cave. It is estimated that they are around 200m south of that underground landmark.

“Shortly after this news, we received a direct (but short confirmation) from our British cave divers of the joyful news that the lost boys had been located alive.

“Two British, volunteer cave divers found the boys at their current location, but the last 36 hours have seen a coordinated and planned approach to the rescue being led by the Thai Military and involving many other nations (including the USA, Chinese, Australians and others). Equipment and air supplies have been ferried in to the system over the last day or so, enabling the divers to progress further in to the system than was previously possible. Diving lines have been laid to the boys’ location for other divers to follow with essential food, comforts and medical supplies.”

The rescue mission continues.