We're not heroes, says British diver who led Thai cave rescue

Some of the boys wave from their hospital beds

READ MORERescued Thai boys wave to world in video

Mr Stanton, from Coventry, spoke as he returned to the United Kingdom on Friday morning along with some of the other British divers who took part in the search and rescue mission.

Thai rescue teams walk inside cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, July 2, 2018.

The three-day rescue mission kicked off on Sunday (local time) and ended late on Tuesday.

With them are six Australian Federal Police cave divers, one Defence diver and a support crew who have been described as integral to the rescue operation.

"But it was what they faced, and what they had to do in there, which was extraordinary", he told The Telegraph.

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Members of the Wild Boars soccer team, ranging in age from 11 to 16, entered the cave with their coach during dry weather.

They expected to be in the cave for only an hour when high water was suddenly upon them.

"The favourable outcome that has been achieved is nearly beyond our imagination when we first became involved in this operation", they said. It was very cold at night and pitch dark.

A strong Aussie accent echoing deep inside the Tham Luang cave proved a key element to the successful Thai rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach, British rescuer John Volanthen has revealed.

The 12 Thai schoolboys rescued from a cave this week were reportedly given a "small sedative" before they embarked on a rescue mission that continues to grab global headlines.

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The boys and their 25-year-old coach were trapped after the Tham Luang cave complex was flooded.

The rescue gripped the world, with much praise focusing on the navy SEALs and worldwide team of divers who helped them, toiling for days in unsafe conditions to get the boys out. "But it's really the worldwide team I would like to focus on and the Thai SEALs".

"Great work and we really appreciate it", a Thai military official said as he bestowed on the men the souvenir medals during a ceremony at Chiang Rai airport. And only a day later, a second movie was announced - but this one promising to circumvent that dreaded Hollywood tendency: whitewashing.

They were found 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, and divers and other worldwide rescuers plotted the complex mission to rescue the team before more rain came.

Another diver, Jason Mallinson, 50, from Huddersfield, said the team left messages for the children as they flew back to the United Kingdom saying: "We're very glad we could get you out alive".

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