"The Guardian View on the Thai Cave Rescue"

Article by Opinion The Guardian from The Guardian- Jul 03,  2018

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"The two British divers who found 12 missing boys and their football coach alive in a flooded cave in Thailand boast extensive experience. Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, who reached the group nine days after they vanished, are so well known among cave rescuers that they had reportedly been requested specially. Yet their work is entirely voluntary; one is a firefighter, the other a computer engineer. And far from glorying in their role, Mr Volanthen had brushed off reporters as he entered the cave, saying only: “We’ve got a job to do.”

On first sight, their quiet courage and extraordinary expertise are truly exceptional. Yet what is perhaps more remarkable is that thousands of people in the UK volunteer on search and rescue teams, and do so largely unsung. There are around 1,000 volunteer cave rescuers in the UK, and 4,700 volunteer lifeboat crew members. In 2015, more than 1,720 people helped in mountain rescue operations. Lowland and coastguard cliff rescue teams are even less well known. But together their impact is powerful. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution says its volunteers have saved more than 139,000 lives since its foundation in 1824. Local people have always helped out – or been drafted in – when someone has got into trouble. But such ad hoc efforts often lacked appropriate skills, experience, coordination and equipment. And as rescuers themselves point out, the very fact of volunteering gives them a different impetus..."      

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