A Brighton man has found himself at the forefront of an inspiring story of hope and survival which has shot to the centre of international news. A group of 12 Thai boys and their football coach were discovered in a cave after nine days of entrapment, with many fearing the worst.
In all, around 1000 people were involved in some capacity. However, in an amazing turn of events, it was a Brighton man who first exchanged words with the lost group.
In an amazing video, John Volanthen, who grew up in Brighton, asks the boys “How many of you?”. After a series of responses, he says “Thirteen? Brilliant.”
Volanthen is currently an IT consultant based in Bristol. He is now, however, a celebrity following his heroic efforts, as part of a trio of British caving experts.
In a 2013 Sunday Times interview, Volanthen spoke of how cave-diving requires a levelheaded approach: “Panic and adrenaline are great in certain situations – but not in cave-diving. The last thing you want is any adrenaline whatsoever.”
Volanthen is clearly not phased by the prospect of meandering, at times hazardous caves, further stating that: “It [cave diving] is like that puzzle with the fox, the chicken and the grain. It’s not dangerous if you do it right.”
His mother Jill felt “absolute pride” in her son following the rescue, as does the whole nation. While the boys are not yet free, due to the hazardous environment they are trapped in, this is a remarkable achievement.