Order Of Australia For Heroic Aussies Involved In Thai Cave Rescue
"You made us so proud," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "We could not have better ambassadors showing the best of our Australian values than you."
The two Australian doctors involved in the Thailand cave rescue have been honoured with Star of Courage for “acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril” by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.
Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Chullen, described as the “linchpins of the whole operation” were honoured with the second highest bravery medal in Australia.
They were also presented with the Order of Australia award, alongside Chief Petty Officer Troy Eather and six members of the Australian Federal Police: Robert James, Kelly Boars, Benjamin Cox, Matthew Fitzgerald, Justin Bateman and Chis Markcrow.
The AFP members and Eather were also presented with Bravery medals.
“During the World Cup, the most inspiring story about football wasn’t in Russia. It was in Thailand” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
“The most inspiring teams were not Les Blues but the Wild Boards. You are part of the all nations team rescuing them. You made us so proud. We could not have better ambassadors showing the best of our Australian values than you.”
Turnbull said that being trapped underground “with the water rising and the oxygen running out” was the stuff of “dark, primeval nightmares”, and described how the “extraordinary deeds” put the lives of the nine Aussies at risk.
“Your first dives were done without a proper guide rope,” he said.
“There was no defined path through those dark waters. You had to feel your way through the twists and turns of the cave system, with the very real threat all the time of being tangled and trapped.”
In his remarks, Cosgrove said that “of all the Australian values and human qualities we cherish”, it is “selflessness and courage” that stand to the front.
He also noted that the nine men honoured consistently downplayed their own actions.
“Those who did the research reported two invariable elements of your responses,” he said.
“First, that others involved did wonderful work. Also, that you weren’t exceptional, you were just doing your bit.
“None of us will dispute the former. On the latter, we think that you were remarkable - skilful, tireless, compassionate and courageous.
“Your nation is so proud of you.”