Richard Harris, an Australian doctor who was the last member of the rescue team to leave the Thai cave, has lost his father. Harris learned of his father’s passing shortly after assisting in the rescue of 13 people who were trapped in a Thailand cave.
Harris’ boss Andrew Pearce — the MedSTAR clinical director — said in a statement: “This is clearly a time of grief for the Harris family, magnified by the physical and emotional demands of being part of this week’s highly complex and ultimately successful rescue operation.”
Harris, the Adelaide based doctor, helped play a part in deciding the order in which the 13 were freed.
According to The Daily Mail, Dr. Harris was described as ‘essential’ to the rescue operation because of “his unique skills and expertise, including 30 years of cave diving experience and his work as a medical retrieval specialist with South Australia’s MedSTAR service.”
Adelaide anesthetist Richard Harris was called in to assist in the rescue at Chiang Rai based on his diving expertise and medical knowledge, and had been involved in determining when each boy would swim out of the cave.
The ABC reports that Harris and three Navy SEALS were the last out of the cave following the rescue of the 12 boys and their coach, emerging several hours after the last of the soccer team.
It was “a short time after the successful rescue operation” that Harris learned of his father’s death, according to Dr Andrew Pearce, Director of Clinical Services at MEDStar.
Reports state that Harris was the last member of the rescue team to exit the cave. Pearce did not say how the father died and asked for the family’s privacy to be respected.