Thai cave rescue operation

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.
The RTN Seals occupy a unique position of respect for Thais, and this has simply confirmed that rather than caused it. While the rest of the Thai military are not as respected as they could be due to a mixture of continued coups, corruption (albeit not on the same alleged level as the Royal Thai Police) chicken farms, and physical abuse, the RTN Seals really are in a league of their own.
 
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?
Yeah, I think that is rather clumsy. A better analogy might be your aspiring rugby player choosing to be coached by an NFL American Football player rather than some rugby bloke.
 
@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.
Thank you, I'm flattered particularly coming from you and some others and equally particularly when I was vilified in another thread for doing what I was asked to do by and for some Thais when it didn't suit some posters' idea of it meeting Western 'standards' of justice ('nuff said on that here).

I've lived here for 25 years since leaving the Army and I became a Theravadan Buddhist before that when serving, and I was lucky enough to also do resident tours in Indonesia, Brunei, Hong Kong and Cambodia, but I must point out that just because I've disagreed with some posters' views on Thai culture and beliefs here that doesn't make them 'wrong' or me any better informed - if you asked those here about British culture and beliefs I'm sure you'd get an equally diverse view.

Some of us really are here for the temples, culture, cuisine and scenery (although the other attractions are equally pleasant!).

(Sorry to be verbose, but as you may have gathered it's rainy season here.)
 
Extremely unlikely given the close ties the Royal Thai forces have with the Americans …
In that case, as the Yank seals probably use oxygen and rebreathers for the very same reason as our lot do, (and I would imagine have a structured training scheme already in place) they might be a better option than a disparate group of amateurs. (And I'm not trying to demean the skills of the cave divers, but do they have the competencies, the resources, and the organisation to do this?)
 
In that case, as the Yank seals probably use oxygen and rebreathers for the very same reason as our lot do, (and I would imagine have a structured training scheme already in place) they might be a better option than a disparate group of amateurs. (And I'm not trying to demean the skills of the cave divers, but do they have the competencies, the resources, and the organisation to do this?)
As @Thaniwa has already explained, I thought pretty clearly, they might have closer to the right equipment but they simply don't have the right skill-set.

They don't train for cave diving or cave rescue and there's no reason why they should - where it's done in the rest of the world it is always done by "disparate groups of amateurs", never, as far as I'm aware, by any military.

The reason that wouldn't work in Thailand is simply down to economics and geography: very few Thai enthusiasts are likely to be able to afford the expensive equipment required, however enthusiastic they were, which makes anything along the lines of the BCRC unlikely at best, but at the same time it has countless cave systems that already attract locals and tourists and this is probably only going to attract more.

Training (edit: and equipping) the RTN Seals for the job is the only practical option, and the only people capable of doing that are those who already do the job, whatever their background. I'd suggest that their 'competencies' aren't in question, and neither are the 'resources and the organisation' of the RTN Seals.

The UK's Special Forces use outside civilians to train them in specialist skills, as do the Army, so it seems rather disingenuous to suggest that the RTN Seals shouldn't do the same.
 
Last edited:
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.
You know, I have mislaid my surprised face!
 
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.
One of the very, very few posts where I disagree with you, @Taniwha.

I'd say that moving from recreational diving to cave-diving, or from fell-walking to climbing the Matterhorn, isn't moving "up" or to a "new level" but that they're simply very different activities with very different skills required, different equipment, different motivation and rewards, and very different dangers for participants and rescuers alike, with different precautions needing to be taken.

There may be some apparent similarities but, like rugby and soccer, the goals are very different.
 
I'd say that moving from recreational diving to cave-diving, or from fell-walking to climbing the Matterhorn, isn't moving "up" or to a "new level" but that they're simply very different activities with very different skills required, different equipment …
Which is actually my point. Perhaps you and @taniwah don't understand the nature of some of what our divers do.
 
Stockholders had a word?

As this well-written article suggests, my words were spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018

Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
Musk apology to diver for Twitter attack
 
Which is actually my point. Perhaps you and @taniwah don't understand the nature of some of what our divers do.
I have little idea what "our divers do" - just enough to know that, whatever it is, it's ... not ... cave ... diving.

Just WTF is the point in getting military divers from elsewhere to teach them how to use equipment which even I can see is similar but not the same, then getting local civilian cave-diving and cave-rescue experts to teach them the skills and techniques using the full-blown cave-diving equipment?

Particularly when they've already met and trust the local civilian cave-diving and cave-rescue experts and they may even be able to communicate directly in the same language, even if to a limited extent, rather than through an interpreter who knows nothing about the issues, skills and equipment involved at all?

In case you hadn't noticed, none of the Brits involved or requested were SPAG or even RN but, coincidentally, one was REME!
 
Not disagreeing but I think there was an impressive amount of volunteers following the Grenfell fire, though I'm not able to say how the organisation of them compares to the cave rescue. Someone else will no doubt be better able to answer.

I've never heard of a shortage of volunteers in any UK situation.
UKPlc after the Staines air crash did everything it could to keep Jo Public away from accidents.

The Kennilworth aircrash changed that a bit.

Generally though, do gooders getting involved isn’t helpful in the mid to long term only at the start when those immediate people are in the immediate vicinity.

I’m not trying to do down the Thai authorities, but their disaster control is way behind that of the U.K.
 
UKPlc after the Staines air crash did everything it could to keep Jo Public away from accidents.

The Kennilworth aircrash changed that a bit.

Generally though, do gooders getting involved isn’t helpful in the mid to long term only at the start when those immediate people are in the immediate vicinity.

I’m not trying to do down the Thai authorities, but their disaster control is way behind that of the U.K.
I was thinking not in terms of any sort of expert help by volunteers but in the case of Grenfell, the overwhelming support, sorting and delivering of emergency clothing and food and suchlike. And of volunteers who help police in searches for missing people and stuff like that.
 
I’m not trying to do down the Thai authorities, but their disaster control is way behind that of the U.K.
I'd suggest, with all due respect, that you may not know a great deal about how the Thai disaster control system works so not really be in any position to comment (which is why I'm steering clear of making any sort of similar judgement on that in the UK).

When was the last time the UK had to deal with anything on the level of the tsunami, for example, after which all the SOPs were re-written in detail (not that I'm suggesting what was re-written may always have been done)?

... and how much more successful was the UK at disaster relief / control than Thailand during the floods, which are probably one of the few things which is broadly comparable?

I'd suggest that Thailand was / is anything but "way behind" during the floods and did and does just as well as the UK where direct comparisons can be made at considerably less cost (I'm not considering issues like long term flood / disaster avoidance, which are a very different matter).

I'm not suggesting the UK necessarily has anything to learn from Thailand in terms of disaster management, but I really don't think the reverse applies either.

It's simply horses for courses and this is one of those areas where I think Thailand's got it right - although arguably that's at least partly because they've failed in other areas such as long term prevention (just how many boating accidents and floods do you need?) so maybe it's down to practice.
 
I was thinking not in terms of any sort of expert help by volunteers but in the case of Grenfell, the overwhelming support, sorting and delivering of emergency clothing and food and suchlike. And of volunteers who help police in searches for missing people and stuff like that.
I'd suggest that in terms of "sorting and delivering of emergency clothing and food and suchlike" that Thailand's way, way ahead of the UK. Whenever there's an emergency (tsunami, flood, etc) anywhere in Thailand, regardless of where it is, virtually every district (roughly the equivalent of a parish in the UK) across the entire country will have a collection point for donations of food, clothing, bedding, etc, and a nation-wide co-ordinated system for delivering it.

Cash donations too, but obviously less so than in the West.

Remember, it's not just about compassion, humanity, and generosity for Thais - it's also about making merit for next time so there's an element of self-interest there that doesn't exist in the West.
 
Rather late in the day, but the 'meet the press' is due to be aired after the national anthem in Thailand at 6pm local time, in just under an hour, lasting 45 minutes including interviews with some of those involved in the rescue.
 

Similar threads

Top