By David Raleigh
The rescue of all 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand has been met with special celebrations in a village in Co Limerick.
As the world watched and waited for the thirteen to be saved, it emerged a man in Cappamore, Co Limerick, had donated specialist diving equipment used in the Thailand rescue.
Sources told the Limerick Leader that scuba tank regulator equipment played a vital role in the recuse mission, which has gripped the world.
The owner of the equipment has requested privacy, however a source said: “Last generation scuba tank regulators were collected (last) Friday evening from a gentleman in Cappamore. By the following morning they were in Thailand as part of the rescue mission.”
The source explained that the oxygen tanks being used in Thailand require ‘last generation regulator valves’.
“In other words, the regulator valves before the current modern regulator valves. They needed so many of them that they had to go around the world looking for them. A number were brought from Cappamore,” the source added.
Reacting to the news of the successful rescue mission today, local political representatives in Cappamore praised the man who supplied the valves that helped rescuers save the 12 boys and their coach.
"I'm delighted to see we have played our part in what has become a very international story, and which has gripped the world for the past few weeks," local Fianna Fáil councillor Bill O'Donnell told this reporter.
Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Cappamore, Cllr Eddie Ryan, also praised the local man involved.
"We all praise the person from our locality who it emerged has been so gracious to gift resources to the rescuers," he said.
"It's a massive story all over the world with a wonderful outcome. Of course, we would like to also remember the diver who lost his life during the rescue who gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Update 9am: Equipment from Limerick is being used in the Thailand cave rescue.
The oxygen tanks rescuers are using need an older model of regulation valve so Thai officials had to mount a global search to acquire the correct equipment.
According to the Limerick Leader, specialist diving equipment from Cappamore has played a critical role in the operation which has hit international headlines.
A source told the paper: “Last generation scuba tank regulators were collected on Friday evening from a gentleman in Cappamore. By the following morning, they were in Thailand as part of the rescue mission.
The third phase of the rescue operation has commenced this morning as five four boys and their soccer coach remain trapped more than two weeks after they first entered the cave.