The plight of the Thai soccer team and the heroic cave rescue mission has gripped the world for the past weeks. Who would have thought that a South African diver was part of the rescue mission?
The Nightmare Rescue Mission
The world breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday as the gruelling 17-day ordeal for the 12 boys and their coach was finally over thanks to an epic rescue mission. The group ventured into the vast cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai after soccer practice on June 23 and were trapped when a rainy season downpour flooded tunnels. The team was stuck in a partly flooded chamber about 4 kilometres inside the caves. It took a multiple-country mission of rescue divers three days under extremely taxing conditions to rescue the whole team.
This is South Africa’s Hero
Leandro Nicolas Gerardo is an advanced diver and currently lives in Bangkok. He was originally born in Argentina but grew up in Pinetown, South Africa. When he heard about the mission he flew over as a volunteer rescue diver.
Leandro and his team were set up in chamber 3, a section which was 2,5km deep into the cave with extremely dangerous caverns. Their mission was to pass oxygen bottles and the boys on stretchers into the next section safely. All this under the constant threat of further flooding.
The ‘Rescue Mission Impossible’
Getting them out – which involved teaching boys as young as 11 who were not strong swimmers to dive through narrow, submerged passages – proved a monumental challenge. A former member of Thailand’s navy SEAL unit died during a mission in the cave on Friday. The boys and their soccer coach all lost an average of 2 kg but are all in relatively good condition. They were flown to a hospital and quarantined after some were treated for lung infections, tetanus, and rabies.
The world rejoices with #Hooyah
The hashtag #Hooyah was hugely popular on social media with people showing their support for the hundreds of rescuers, including divers from around the world, who helped to get the boys out.
People around the world cheered the team’s rescue after the saga generated messages of help, prayers and – finally – relief. A Google search on Tuesday for the words “Thai cave rescue” revealed 359 million results.
A Facebook Tribute to a Friend
Dwayne Saunders, a fellow Pinetown Boys schoolmate took to social media to thank his friend.
“Would just like to give a massive shout out to one of my best mates Leandro Nicolas Gerardo , his team and the rest of the people involved with helping retrieve all the Thai Football Kids and their Coach safely from the flooded Cave in Thailand, that has been on the News all around the world the last few days! Once again to you and all involved my Boy, you are true legends! My prayers go out to the whole football team, coach and especially the family of the Navy Seal that gave his life to save them.”
Wow! Amanzi fans are exceptionally proud of your courageous and fearless mission Leandro and team.
Original Article appeared: Good Things Guy
Sources: Facebook, Reuters