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12 November 2019

In June 2018, for 17 days, the world watched and held its breath as the Wild Boar soccer team were trapped deep in a cave in Thailand.

Marooned beyond flooded cave passages after unexpected rains, the 12 boys and their coach were finally rescued, one-by-one, against almost impossible odds, by an international cave-diving team that included Australians Dr Richard Harris SC OAM and Dr Craig Challen SC OAM.

On Thursday November 14th, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Matilda Bookshop host Dr Harris and Dr Challen in-conversation with journalist Tory Shepherd as they launch their new book, Against All Odds at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

This is the inside account of the breathtaking rescue that captured the world, and the two Australian men at its centre will discuss candidly the emotion, anxiety and elation surrounding those very long days in Thailand.

Dr Harris and Dr Challen were chosen for their medical expertise and cave diving knowledge, but the rescue asked so much more of them.

Dr Harris was central to developing the plan that ultimately saved the boys, in which they were anesthetised for the duration of the three-hour journey out of the caves. Following approval of the plan by Thai authorities, Dr Harris was acutely aware how much responsibility had fallen upon him.

“I started to realise I was kind of being held out as the guy who the plan belonged to and I had some concerns about that given that I had zero confidence in the success of the plan,” he told The Advertiser earlier this year.

“But in the absence of any other possible plan and with the idea that these kids were going to die a slow lingering horrible death, I decided to commit to providing this anaesthesia.”  

After their initial anaesthesia, the unconscious boys were swum by British divers to Dr Challen, who was waiting in the next chamber 300 metres away, where he checked the boys’ masks and health, and topped up the anaesthetic. They then went on a three-hour journey along the winding passages with the British divers.  

“These kids, once they left me at chamber seven, they could have drowned ten metres down the track and I would have never known,” Dr Challen says.

Join us for a very special evening and hear the remarkable story directly from the men involved.

Books sales from 6.00pm in the foyer and book signing following the presentation, which begins at 6.30pm in Hall F of the Adelaide Convention Centre.

For more information about Against All Odds, and to register for this free event, visit: https://www.unisa.edu.au/Business-community/Hawke-Centre/Events-calendar/against_all_odds/
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Media: Dan Lander office (08) 8302 0578 | mobile: 0408 882 809 | email: dan.lander@unisa.edu.au

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