Minister for Defence Marise Payne has released a statement following the successful rescue of the soccer team from a Thai cave – and the the tragic death of one of their rescuers.
FILE IMAGE (30 June 2018): Leading Aircraftman Timothy Kraak and Warrant Officer Craig Stuart-Hunter load specialist equipment for the Thai cave rescue on to a C-17A Globemaster at Canberra Airport. Photo by Sergeant Ray Vance.
“We join with the people of Thailand in celebrating the rescue of all 12 boys and their coach who have been safely evacuated from the flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand,” Minister Payne said.
“The Thai authorities have demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout the rescue operation, working tirelessly to bring the team to safety.
“The rescue mission was made possible by a remarkable example of international cooperation.
“Under the leadership of the Royal Thai Navy Seals, rescue crews from Australia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States have worked in close partnership to ensure the safe return of the boys and their coach.
“The dangers of the mission were underscored by the tragic death of the former Royal Thai Navy SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Saman Kunan.
“The Australian Government sends its condolences to his family.
“Australia has played an integral role in this unprecedented operation.
“We congratulate all of those involved, including Dr Richard Harris and his dive partner Craig Challen, as well as our Australian Federal Police divers and personnel from the Australian Defence Force and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who provided logistics and planning expertise.
“Australia has been proud to work with Thailand and other countries to achieve this extraordinary outcome.”