The rescue operation of 12 boys and their football coach from a treacherous cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province has kept millions around the world transfixed to their television sets.
As a team of over 1,000 personnel come together to help rescue the trapped group of 13, two British cave diving experts, John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, are the ones who will help head in reuniting all the boys and the coach with their families.
The duo arrived three days after they were called in along with caving expert Robert Harper by Thai authorities to assist in the rescue. They were the first to make contact with the missing group once they were found deep inside the rainwater-flooded Tham Luang cave.
Here’s what we know about the two divers
Volanthen and Stanton are part of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team.
Richard Stanton, who used to work as a firefighter in Coventry, was in 2004 involved in rescuing six British cave explorers in Mexico.
The chairman of South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team said John and Richard have been involved in several rescue operations and that they had an “awful lot of expertise to take with them to Thailand”.
In the Mexico rescue, John Stanton was able to convince one of the cavers, who was petrified of water, to make a 180-foot dive out of the cave and consequently to safety.
Stanton was appointed into the Order of the British Empire back in 2012 for his services in cave diving rescues.
John Volanthen was born in Brighton and works as an IT consultant in Bristol.
In recognition of their services in a rescue operation in France, John and Richard received a Royal Humane Society medal at Buckingham Palace back in 2012.
Stanton, 57, first started diving at the age of 16 or 17 after he got acquainted with someone who had been caving diving with the Scouts. He continued to learn diving at university.
According to John Volanthen’s mother Jill, her son got involved in diving at a university club. She said that John also runs marathons and has climbed El Capitan in California, Sierra Nevada’s Yosemite Park.
John said it takes a special kind of calm to be involved in cave diving rescues. He said a rush and adrenaline are great at times but cave diving requires composure.