Australian medical expert and diving hero from the 2018 Thai Cave Rescue
Renowned cave diver Dr Richard Harris SC OAM became an internationally recognised Australian hero when he assisted in the 2018 cave rescue of the Thai soccer team. With his combined expertise in medicine and diving, Richard and his diver partner Dr Craig Challen SC OAM were crucial to the rescue of twelve young boys and their soccer coach.
As a member of the Explorers Club in New York, Richard has completed many record-breaking expeditions. Most notably, in an effort to trace the source of the Pearse River, Richard led an Australian diving team to depths as low as 221 metres. This mission was recorded by National Geographic for its bravery and complexity.
With a diving career spanning over thirty years, Richard’s love for underwater expeditions has seen him work on documentaries and feature films with production teams across the globe.
Outside of cave diving, Dr Harris also has medical experience with AusAID. Working in Vanuatu for two years, Richard was able to provide essential medical services to the country. This has come in handy when divers require medical assistance, such as in 2011 when Richard was called on to rescue his friend’s body after she had run out of oxygen inside eight kilometres of underwater passageways.
Currently, Richard is working at MedSTAR to offer anaesthetic treatment within South Australia’s emergency medical retrieval service.
Richard Harris was thrust into the spotlight in 2018 when he and Dr Craig Challen were called upon to rescue a team of young soccer boys from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Thailand. With his medical expertise, Richard was able to provide integral medical support and devise a strategy to safely rescuing the team. Climbing through pitch-black tunnels as narrow as 38cm, Richard risked his own life to ensure that all twelve boys and their coach would make it out of the cave alive.
For their bravery, Dr Richard and Dr Craig were both named as the first dual Australians of the Year in 2019. They were also awarded an Order of Australia each for their “service to the international community”. Their co-authored book ‘Against All Odds’ provides an inside look at the courage and problem-solving skills that were essential to the success of the rescue.
Having recently received an Australian award for his Outstanding Contributions to Cave Exploration, Dr Richard Harris is one of Australia’s most respected heroes. He is the perfect speaker for any event looking to inspire their audience with tales of unparalleled bravery and problem-solving skills.