The rescue divers who rescued the 12 football players and their coach trapped in a flooded cave say they risked arrest for giving the boys ketamine to sedate them before the two-and-a-half-hour underwater journey from the cave.
The Sun reported that British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen said they had been warned that if one of the boys died from ingesting the tranquillizer, which is used as a horse tranquillizer as well as a party drug, they could be arrested.
Wild Boars’ 12 football players, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were exploring Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang Nang Non-cave on June 23, 2018, but heavy rain partially flooded the cave. which got them stuck. Divers found the team alive on July 2 and rescued a week later.
In a recent interview with The Sun, John told reporters: “The risk for us was that we could potentially end up in the Thai justice system or certainly end up as outcasts and face the consequences ourselves.”
The Sun says the doctor at the scene was concerned the drugs could kill the boys, but John told The Sun that if divers took the “do nothing” option, the boys would die anyway.
According to a 2019 CNN report, medics who treated the soccer team say ketamine played a key role in the perilous mission to get them safely out of the cave. The drug helped calm the boys, and CNN reports that it also reduced the risk of hypothermia, as the drug “decreases shivering and is associated with smaller drops in core body temperature.”
After the successful three-day rescue mission, John and Rick were awarded the British George Medal for “acts of great bravery”.
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