PADI Awards Medal of Valor to Thailand Cave Rescuers Who Represent Diving’s Finest Hour

Leadership and rescue divers instrumental in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand earlier this year will be the first-ever recipients of PADI’s Medal of Valor. This high distinction will be awarded to Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, Dr. Richard Harris, Dr. Craig Challen, Jason Mallinson, Jim Warny and Chris Jewell. The courage, strength, honor and dignity displayed during the rescue operation propelled the PADI organization to create the medal to formally recognize their contributions to one of diving’s greatest moments in history. Rick Stanton and Jason Mallinson will represent this distinguished group and accept the PADI Medal of Valor at the PADI® Social on 13 November during DEMA Show 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

In June and July 2018, the world watched as top cave divers and other experts from around the globe converged in Thailand to find and save the “Wild Boars” soccer team, which had become trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave system. For 18 days, the international effort involved more than 1,000 men and women, who combined their collective talents for the extraordinary recovery of the team.

“It was an awe-inspiring example of humanity at its best, focused on a single noble purpose,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “This complex rescue operation demonstrated action and focus propelled by the unshakeable conviction that those boys would not die on diving’s watch. Rick Stanton, Jason Mallinson and everyone who was part of this effort faced and accepted the difficulties, dangers and risks inherent in the rescue. On behalf of the entire PADI family, it is an honor to recognize these heroes and extend our immense gratitude for representing diving’s finest hour.”

Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were a driving force in the Thai cave rescue operation. The pair was the first to discover the soccer team, which had been trapped in the flooded cave for nine days at the time they were found. Together, with Mallinson and Jewell, the divers led the dive rescue and carried the boys out of the cave to safety. Both Stanton and Volanthen are regarded as two of Britain’s foremost cave divers, with more than 35 years’ experience in extreme cave dives and rescues, having led a number of high-profile rescue attempts in the past.

Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris played a critical role in the rescue, administering sedatives to the boys to facilitate their extraction under extreme and complex conditions. Working in anesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine in Adelaide, South Australia, Harris has expertise in cave diving, wilderness medicine and remote area health. Dr. Craig Challen, an Australian cave explorer, early adopter of closed-circuit mixed-gas rebreathers and avid wreck diver, dived alongside Harris facilitating the successful execution of the rescue.

Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewell were integral to the mission, taking food to the those trapped and working alongside Stanton and Volanthen to carry the boys out through the flooded sections of cave. Mallinson is an exploration and rescue cave diver with 30 years in the field. His achievements have led him to set distance and depth records in caves all over the world. He has assisted in multiple rescues and is a member of the United Kingdom’s international cave-dive rescue team. Jewell is a UK-based exploratory cave diver with more than 12 years’ experience leading cave diving. Belgian cave diver Jim Warny, who currently resides in Ireland, was instrumental in the coach’s extraction.

 

“Their daring mission is a wonderful opportunity to show the world what the diving community is made of, and what can be accomplished through a combination of proper training, trust, courage, passion and perseverance,” says Richardson.

Industry stakeholders and PADI Members are invited to stand together to thank these heroic divers. Join PADI in honoring these men at the PADI Social on Tuesday, 13 November 2018, from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Westgate Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

All are invited for a special meet and greet with Rick Stanton and Jason Mallinson at the DEMA Show in the PADI booth (booth 1524) on Wednesday, 14 November from 5:00-6:00 pm. Please join PADI in celebrating these heroes and thanking them for their courage and honor.

PADI Digital Core Courses Expand Reach

As part of PADI’s ongoing mission to expand independent study materials and enhance the PADI digital product suite, we’re expanding the number of language offerings for the PADI Open Water Diver, Freediver™ and Enriched Air Diver educational course materials. Making the PADI eLearning experience accessible to even more students across the globe.

Scuba diving is a sport/hobby/obsession that bridges borders and cultures, bringing people around the world together to enjoy the underwater environment. But people around the world have different needs and, more importantly, speak different languages.  PADI accounts for this when creating its eLearning products.

The PADI organization is making it easier for PADI Divers to access learning materials, with a digital suite of core courses that are easy to purchase, download and use. Now, these materials are offered in more languages than ever before too – further demonstrating that PADI truly is the way the world learns to dive.

What’s new?

  • PADI Open Water Diver – Open Water Diver now available in seven new languages: Czech, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Russian and Turkish.
  • PADI Freediver – Along with the existing English, the popular Freediver program is now available in 10 additional languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, with Korean, Thai, and Russian soon to follow.
  • PADI Enriched Air Diver – 22 languages: English, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, with Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Indonesian, Thai, Hebrew and Polish soon to follow.
  • Advanced Open Water Diver: Coming soon!

Important to note: The PADI Library app will reflect these changes. If divers have automatic updates turned on in their device settings, the app will update automatically.  If not, they will need to make sure they update their app.

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, be sure to update your eLearning preferences in your account to reflect the courses and languages you support.

Keep an eye out as more updates to the eLearning experience are coming soon.

Continue your PADI Pro journey for 2019

Being a PADI Pro means teaching the world’s most respected and instructionally solid system in diving, transforming people into divers and changing their lives forever.

Renew your membership by signing up for PADI Online Renewal by 15th December 2018, and you’ll save on your annual membership.

PADI Online Renewal will ensure you’ll maintain access to a wealth of PADI membership benefits including:

  • The ability to teach or assist PADI courses and programs around the world
  • Be part of a global community of over 135,000 Professional members
  • Competitively priced specialist diving insurance policies for PADI EMEA members
  • Gain recognition and be an Elite Instructor with the annual PADI Elite Instructor Awards
  • Free access to PADI seminars, webinars, Quarterly Training Bulletins and Member Forums
  • Participate in or host one of PADI’s global events, such as Women’s Dive Day and AWARE Week
  • Stay up to date with the latest news in diving with the Undersea Journal and the Surface Interval email newsletter
  • Training information and pro-development webinars on the PADI Pros’ Site
  • Cutting-edge digital educational tools with PADI’s Digital Products available in 25 languages across all devices
  • Online certification processing
  • Online access to the Pros Site and Employment Board classifieds
  • Access to your Regional Sales and Training Consultants and support from your Regional Headquarters

Sign up to Online Renewal now and save on your PADI Pro Membership.

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