TWO of the men behind the incredible rescue of 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are from mid Wales, it emerged this week.
Cambrian News reported “Gary Mitchell, assistant chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, is from Staylittle, between Machynlleth and Llanidloes, and Dr Peter Dennis, chairman, is from Aberystwyth.
The Thai authorities asked the BCRC – a voluntary organisation formed from cavers and rescue teams across the country – for assistance.
Gary, 45, who works for Social Farms & Gardens Wales, said: “I’m not a diver myself, that’s not my idea of fun, but I was brought in with others to take pressure off them. They had been trying to do everything but really needed to concentrate on diving. When we got there, we helped on the surface, planning, briefing, debriefing, sourcing equipment from all over the world, organising practices, etc.
“I’ve been called out to rescues before, in the UK, but never abroad or to anything like this.”
Gary added: “Once we arrived we continued to look at options and decided the best chance of survival was to try to get them out as soon as possible, whilst there was a lull in the heavy rain.”
Recalling the emotion felt when the first boy emerged, Gary said: “It was euphoric”.
Dr Dennis, who advises the government and emergency services on rescues and also works at Aberystwyth University as a lecturer in grazing ecology, helped out from the UK” here.