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Keynote Speaker

Craig Challen

Dr. Craig Challen

Thai Cave Rescue Diver

Craig Challen is one of the Australian cave divers who was instrumental in the rescue of 12 soccer players and their coach from a cave in Thailand in July 2018. As a member of the Wet Mules, a diving group that takes on some of the world's deepest caves, he risked his life to navigate the narrow cave system amidst rising water levels to save the boys.

A retired vet and CEO, and a keen aviator, Craig was about to go on a caving holiday in the Nullarbor Plains, when he was called to help the rescue mission based on his technical expertise. Although he initially thought the rescue would be too difficult to accomplish, he played a leading role in the successful mission. Working 10 to 12 hours a day in extremely dangerous conditions, he repeatedly risked his life as the children were swum, one by one, through the dark and narrow flooded caves. Craig was awarded the Star of Courage for his unwavering and selfless bravery. In 2019 he was recognised as Australia of the Year for Western Australia.

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