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PADI To Award First Medal of Valor To Thailand Cave Dive Rescue Experts

PADI has decided to award the dive training agency’s first-ever Medal of Valor to the British and Australian cave divers who were instrumental in rescuing a boys’ soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand this past summer.

The medals will go to Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, Dr. Richard Harris, Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewell. Their actions spurred PADI to establish the medal to formally recognize one of the greatest moments in dive history.

Stanton and Mallinson will represent the group at the PADI Social during DEMA Show 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

PADI Worldwide President and CEO Drew Richardson said:

“It was an awe-inspiring example of humanity at its best, focused on a single noble purpose. 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.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.