Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, Dr. Richard Harris, Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewell will be the first ever recipients of PADI’s Medal of Valor. PADI created this medal to formally recognize these diver’s contributions to one of the most challenging rescues in the history of diving. This was humanity at its best, as these five divers focused on a single goal, to return these boys to their families. There was one casualty; Thai diver P O Saman was transferring tanks when he encountered problems on the trip back. He died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways due to lack of air, and unfortunately his colleagues could not revive him.
The “Wild Boars” soccer team, consisting of 12 boys, aged 11 to 17 and their coach became trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave system, and none of the boys could swim. As the world watched for 18 days, more than 1,000 men and women, worked together for the safe recovery of the “Wild Boars” and their coach. Most of the soccer group were unhurt, although some of the boys were weak or had minor injuries.
Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were the driving force in the rescue operation. Stanton and Volanthen were the first to discover the soccer team, and both have more than 35 years’ experience in extreme cave dives and rescues. These two have led many rescue attempts in the past, and are two of Britain’s foremost cave divers.
At the PADI social in Los Vegas, Nevada, Rick Stanton and Jason Mallinson will accept the PADI Medal of Valor on behalf of the other divers during DEMA Show.