News

British Army Soldier Part Of Thailand Rescue Team

A British Army soldier was a part of the team that rescued 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

A British Army soldier was a part of the team that rescued 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

LCpl Connor Roe is a Cave Dive Group qualified diver who has built up his caving and cave diving experience during his career in the REME, including leading a multi-group expedition to one of the deepest caves in Europe.

He was specifically requested to support the team in Thailand as part of the British Cave Rescue Council's assistance to the Thai-led rescue.

LCpl Connor Roe said: "I never felt there was no hope, but I definitely felt that perhaps a miracle would be needed at some point.

"My role in Thailand was a part of the rescue team, to rescue the 12 boys and their coach from the back of the cave system as a diver."

The REME soldier said that the Army prepared him for the situation "very well".

He said: "They put us in really high-stress situations to test that skill and ultimately it was no different for me there because I was really able to control my feelings and my emotions and focus on the task at hand and complete it to the best of my ability.

"When I first arrived it was clearly all systems go, everyone was at maximum efforts, I hit the ground running to say the least.

"But everyone seemed to know what they needed to be getting done… everyone was very focused and very driven to achieve the goal.

"The diving itself was particularly challenging. You’re diving in zero visibility, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.

"There was some tight restrictions that required you to manoeuvre yourself almost like human Tetris.

"And you could see all the remnants from previous attempts to enter the cave system, all the old dive cylinders littering around… it was really quite surreal.

"It was always described as sort of mission impossible, whereas now it’s very much mission accomplished."  

The 12 boys and their football coach are recovering well and Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn says all 13 are set to leave the hospital next Thursday.

LCpl Roe said: "We had the best people in the world to do this rescue.

"Without those individuals, who are very well practiced at diving in those environments, it could have gone a completely different way."