Bristol

Thai cave diver John Volanthen awarded highest Scout honour

John Volanthen
Image caption The award was presented at his local scout meeting in Bristol

A British diver who was one of the first to reach 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave has been honoured by the Scout Association.

John Volanthen, a cub leader from Bristol, was awarded the Bronze Cross for his role in the rescue.

The medal is the Scouts' highest honour and is given for "heroism or action in the face of extraordinary risk".

Mr Volanthen played down his heroics after the rescue in June and claimed he and his colleagues "are not heroes".

Image caption The Bronze Cross is the highest honour in the Scout Association

"What we do is very calculating, very calm. It's quite the opposite," he added, following the rescue of the boys.

But, despite this, he was given the honour at his local Long Ashton club, which included a framed letter from Chief Scout Bear Grylls.

Mr Volanthen said he was "very, very humbled" because he "started caving in the scouts, so it's kind of a full circle really".

He added: "I still take scouts caving, so it's an honour to be given this kind of medal."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption John Volanthen was one of a number of foreign divers drafted in for the rescue

The 12 footballers and their coach had wandered into the Tham Luang caves in the Chiang Rai region of Thailand while exploring.

Mr Volanthen was the first voice the boys heard after nine days trapped in the underground network.

Their rescue was particularly hazardous because the boys, aged 11 to 16, had to swim through tight spaces despite having no previous diving experience.

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