Thai cave rescue operation

Fang_Farrier

LE
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Does Thai law hold rescuers responsible for any further injury that casualties suffer as a result of rescue attempts? I know that in some states of the US, it is illegal to carry out any medical treatment, including first aid, unless you are a licenced medical professional. Would this be designed to get around a similar Thai law?
Most countries in the world you can not just rock up and preform medical treatment without registration with the appropriate government. Although first aid is an exception as anybody can perform that.
(I register with Greek Dental Council when working in refugee camps)
However there is usually an expedited pathway for such registrations for humanitarian work if you have a suitable qualification recognised by that government. Not always as straight forward as it sounds.
 
Does Thai law hold rescuers responsible for any further injury that casualties suffer as a result of rescue attempts? I know that in some states of the US, it is illegal to carry out any medical treatment, including first aid, unless you are a licenced medical professional. Would this be designed to get around a similar Thai law?
Not that I've ever heard of, and I'd be very surprised given the number of 'Rescue' personnel I alluded to above, some of whom are far more trained and qualified than others.

Similarly, I'd be surprised if there was anything to stop any of the many expat dive instructors here giving first aid to a student in difficulties, although I'm sure most aren't licensed to practice medicine here; on the other hand, I suppose it all comes down to what would be considered emergency medical treatment and an unavoidable part of any rescue attempt and what could be considered 'negligence'.

What I'd suspect is that it was just a big umbrella from the Aus side as they realised that his was the riskiest position of all in terms of possible bad outcomes for the kids and coach, and so diplomatic immunity was quicker and simpler than getting some legal expert to pore through the assorted legal ramifications, and fortunately the Thais thought the same.
 
Most countries in the world you can not just rock up and preform medical treatment without registration with the appropriate government. Although first aid is an exception as anybody can perform that.
(I register with Greek Dental Council when working in refugee camps)
However there is usually an expedited pathway for such registrations for humanitarian work if you have a suitable qualification recognised by that government. Not always as straight forward as it sounds.
How do MSF do it?
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The SOP or the cave rescue?

The reports in the Thai media are that the Seals had done neither but are now going to include cave diving as part of their training. It's not in their remit nor was it their responsibility, but it's a civil responsibility.
The chain of command and process was laid down following the tsunami, although reportedly nothing of this type / level was covered or practiced, and some of what was laid down is reportedly no longer functional.
I hope they will get some of the expat cave diver instructors in Thailand to help with that. Moving up from recreational diving gear (as the Thai seals were using) to cave-diving is a bit like going from fell-walking to climbing the Matterhorn - it's a whole new level.

I heard an interview with Ben Reymenants in which he described going into the cave on the first day on his re-breather and deciding that even with his experience it would be just adding to the body count to continue any further - absolutely zero visibility, strong currents and no established cave line to follow, and impossibly difficult to lay one. The expat divers were apparently packing up their kit until they heard that the Thai seals were going to go in anyway - with their recreational scuba-gear. The expats then felt they had no option but to continue helping, and then luckily the visibility started to improve and they were able to lay a line and progress through the system.

Another snippet I heard is that when JV and RS pushed out the the far end of their initial summit push, they ran out of reel before they were able to surface. Rather than turning back they elected to go forward with no line. One of cave diver's mantras is that "if you lose your line, don't worry, you've got the rest of your life to find it again..." You never let go of it in low visibility...
 
I hope they will get some of the expat cave diver instructors in Thailand to help with that. Moving up from recreational diving gear (as the Thai seals were using) to cave-diving is a bit like going from fell-walking to climbing the Matterhorn - it's a whole new level.
Our mil divers are trained and practiced in the use of of oxygen and rebreathers. Would it not more acceptable to the RTN to be trained in this by the RN rather than civvies?
 
Our mil divers are trained and practiced in the use of of oxygen and rebreathers. Would it not more acceptable to the RTN to be trained in this by the RN rather than civvies?
Well no, not at all. Military divers just don't do cave-diving - why would they need to do it? RN FDU divers are very highly trained, fit, capable, and have good kit, but they have no cave diving skills.
 
Well no, not at all. Military divers just don't do cave-diving - why would they need to do it? RN FDU divers are very highly trained, fit, capable, and have good kit, but they have no cave diving skills.
No, but they do do what you term "technical" diving, and they do use the same types of equipment.
 
No, but they do do what you term "technical" diving, and they do use the same types of equipment.
To try a clumsy analogy think about rugby and football. Both involve a superficially similar skill set of running about on a pitch and getting a ball in your opponents goal using the same sort of equipment.

You're an aspiring rugby player and have a choice of being coached by a Premiership footballer or a 2nd XV rugby bloke. Who has the skill set that better matches what you need, regardless of how it's perceived by the outside world?
 
@John G thank you for your most informative posts and in particular your insights to the Thai culture. It gave me a better perspective and a measure of understanding to the mindset behind this successful operation.
I appreciate your contribution.
 
Well no, not at all. Military divers just don't do cave-diving - why would they need to do it? RN FDU divers are very highly trained, fit, capable, and have good kit, but they have no cave diving skills.
Having listened to a few interviews with the returned British cave divers, they have said that the Thai seals were operating out of their comfort zone. I'm no diver, but I imagine there is a world of difference between cave diving and open water diving. My point is that the seals were incredibly brave to continue operating in the caves and Saman Kunan deserves his countries highest honour for paying the ultimate price.
Overall it was an incredible operation that was nearly 100% successful, something even the most experienced guys thought unlikely.
 
One of cave diver's mantras is that "if you lose your line, don't worry, you've got the rest of your life to find it again..." You never let go of it in low visibility...
A number of reports detailed that the diver with the eleventh boy lost the guide line during a particularly unpleasant part of the rescue, in or near one of the sumps, and to find it again (depending on the report) he had to find his way back, with the boy, to the start. That last part seems unlikely given that he would have had to pass the second diver with the boy, but it's clear that finding it took anything up to an hour, possibly more, during which he had to think not only about his life but the boy's he had taken total responsibility for. Not pleasant.
 
Just watched an American-made documentary on Discovery about the whole thing. It was quite informative and some aspects of it we're good, especially the footage of condition inside the caves.(Quick, I know but US film companies already have people out there interviewing families and workers for potential films about it all.)

What I didn't like was it sort of gave the impression that "America saved everyone". They had "interviews" with USAF Master Sergeants and medics from the USMC talking about how they took part - along with civvy Yank engineers to pump the waters away.

They never credited the other nationalities with helping except for the very end when they mentioned over 1000 people took part in the rescue.
 
Our mil divers are trained and practiced in the use of of oxygen and rebreathers. Would it not more acceptable to the RTN to be trained in this by the RN rather than civvies?
Extremely unlikely given the close ties the Royal Thai forces have with the Americans and, to a much lesser extent, the Australians, particularly when the RTN Seals have very close ties to their American counterparts whose selection their own is based on - albeit that Thai selection hasn't been changed for decades and 'softened' as, arguably, the Americans' may have been.

Far more likely they'd source advice and training locally, specifically from some of the Thai and expat cave divers they met and learnt to respect and trust during the rescue - remember there are only 144 of them altogether, so the numbers involved are small.
Military divers just don't do cave-diving - why would they need to do it?
Exactly as the commander of the RTN Seals explained - who are you going to fight underwater in caves? He has stated clearly, though, that this is now going to be part of their basic training (which already takes a year!).
 

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