One of the divers who took part in the daring rescue of 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand has been speaking about the experience at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin.
Clare-based Belgian national Jim Warny said the team of divers had no idea of the reception they would receive globally after emerging as heroes from flooded cave at Tham Luang in June last year.
The world-renowned expert was drafted in by the British Cave Rescue Council to join the effort, and between July 8 and 10, all 12 boys were brought to safety as Mr Warny and his colleagues navigated the blackness and uncompromising terrain.
Mr Warny told Síle Seoige and 3,000 in attendance at the Convention Centre in Dublin that while he was a reluctant hero, he felt a duty to tell the story.
“People think I’m a bit of a hero. But I just had the skills that were needed. Anyone else would have done the same thing,” he said.
“We really didn’t know how the world would receive it. We were just normal people.”
Mr Warny said the flood of emotions came soon after the rescue and the magnitude of what had been accomplished set in.
“I’m not afraid to say it, when it was all over I cried for 15 minutes. I don’t know where it came from. I guess all those emotions that I kept bottled up, eventually came out.”