Richard Harris 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.
Richard Harris's career in anaesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine has enabled him to combine his expertise in diving, wilderness and remote area health. His love of underwater exploration has led him to work on National Geographic documentaries, feature films and with various teams worldwide in the role of diver, underwater cameraman and of course medical support. A member of the Explorers Club of New York, in 2015 he was recognised with an Australian award for Outstanding Contributions to Cave Exploration and in 2017, he was awarded The Australasian Technical Diver of the Year.
Richard has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations. He established the first sump rescue training course in Australasia, and has built relationships with emergency services locally. The 2018 Thailand Cave Rescue was an opportunity to put his training and expertise to work. Drawing on his medical expertise as a member of the Thai cave rescue team, Richard medically assessed and administered anaesthetic to each of the evacuees to facilitate their rescue. His efforts were recognised when he was named South Australia's Australian of the Year in 2019.
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