Hero doctor and diver in line for SA gong

Hero doctor and diver in line for SA gong

Cave diving hero and Adelaide anaesthetist Richard Harris is in the running to be named South Australian of the year.

Dr Harris shot to international fame in July when he played a key role in the rescue of a team of young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

Using his medical skills and 30-years of cave diving experience, he was crucial to the successful operation that captured worldwide attention.

Dr Harris was about to leave for a cave-diving holiday when he received the call for help and immediately travelled to Thailand with friend and diving buddy Craig Challen from Perth.

Along with other rescue divers, the pair navigated the narrow cave system to assess the health of those trapped, giving the medical all-clear for each evacuee and administering an anaesthetic to help with their rescue.

Along with a group of Australian defence and police specialists, both Dr Harris and Dr Challen were presented with bravery awards by the federal government after the 18-day operation.

Also in the running for the SA award are mountaineer Katie Sarah who recently became the first woman in the world to complete the “seven-seven” – successfully scaling the world’s seven highest mountains and seven highest volcanoes.

Other nominees include the first women to umpire an AFL game, Eleni Glouftsis, who is a finalist in the young South Australian category.

The 26-year-old began her umpiring career while in high school and went on to officiate in the South Australian National Football League and the Victorian Football League before breaking into the AFL in 2017.

The South Australian winners will be announced on Thursday and will go on to represent SA in the Australian of the Year awards to be revealed in Canberra early in the new year.

 

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