Aussie doctor's accent 'relaxed' trapped Thai boys

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2018

Parents are still waiting to be reunited with their sons two days after the last members of a youth football team were extracted from a cave in northern Thailand, as details of the high-risk rescue operation have started to emerge. It lies under the mountains around the small town of Mae Sai, in northern Chiang Rai province on the border with Myanmar.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters today that the entire operation would not have been possible without the unique skills that Harris brought to the mission, though he did not elaborate. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha reportedly said Tuesday that safeguards would have to be put in place at the scene to protect future tourists.

Dr Richard "Harry" Harris had a great relationship with the boys while they were trapped in the cave system.

Derek Anderson, 32, a rescue specialist with the U.S. Air Force based in Okinawa, Japan, told the Mail that crews ensured the boys were "tightly packed" so divers could maintain control and adjust their air supply as needed.

With the boys still recuperating in hospital, US-based production companies have already taken an interest in turning their story into a motion picture.

Thailand's Navy, whose SEAL unit led the rescue, and the Thai government have selected Ivanhoe Pictures to develop a film that would be directed by John M Chu, the president of Ivanhoe Pictures, John Penotti, said in a statement. "I want to see the face of my child and embrace him and ask him how he feels and how he's doing".

Jon M. Chu has pledged to make a film that won't be a "white wash", indicating Asian actors would be front and center of his film.

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Concerns are already being raised on social media that the movie could be "white-washed", focusing more on the worldwide characters while downplaying the role of Thais.

"No way. Not on our watch".

"We couldn't see them initially - they had to come round the corner".

Chu, a Chinese-American born in California, added: "There's a lovely story abt human beings saving other human beings".

The complex mission for the rescuers from Thailand, the U.S., Britain, Australia and other countries to guide the boys and coach through the cave's flooded passageways riveted people worldwide. "So anyone thinking abt the story better approach it right & respectfully". Their discovery immediately prompted discussions on how to get them out, with initial reports suggesting that the safest way to rescue the team was to wait out the rainy season, which lasts until October, and guide them out once the flooded tunnels had dried.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days.

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