A British cave diver who helped find a missing football coach and 12 boys has been honoured by Thai authorities.
Robert Charles Harper was one third of the British cave diving team who found the twelve teenagers and their coach, who had been trapped in a Thai cave in pitch darkness without food or water for nine days by monsoon rains.
Rescuers are still trying to save the group – who may have to dive more than a mile to safety.
Mr Harper, from Wells in Somerset, received a warm farewell at Suvarnabhumi Airport and was given a certificate of appreciation by Thailand’s tourism and sports minister as he left the country.
He departed earlier than the other divers involved in the operation, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, due to a medical appointment.
The trio were were sent by the British Cave Rescue Council, who had been contacted by Thai authorities to come to the aid of the missing team.
Mr Stanton and Mr Volanthen led the party, and were the first to discover the boys after diving through a chamber to where they were perched above the water.
In footage of the discovery a light is cast on the faces of the trapped boys, while a rescuer with an English accent is heard trying to reassure the group that help is coming.
He warns, however, that the rescue attempt is far from over.
With the boys still trapped in the cave system experts are working round the clock to get them out – a rescue that has involved pumping out gallons of water.
The team have received messages of support from well-wishers around the world – including those who have direct experience of being trapped underground.
Mario Sepulveda, who was rescued from a mine in Chile in 2010, recorded a video message saying he had faith the boys would be rescued.
“I have no doubt that if the government of the country puts in everything and makes all possible efforts, this rescue will be successful,” he said.
“We are praying for each of you for each of these families and for these children.”
From – SkyNews