Anaesthetist and Thai rescue cave diver Dr Richard Harris has been named South Australia’s Australian of the Year!
Dr Harris was instrumental in the rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand earlier this year; a miraculous rescue which gained international attention.
The anaesthetist was the last to leave the cave, ensuring all sedated boys were led to safely.
At a ceremony held last night at Adelaide Oval, Dr Harris received a standing ovation as he accepted his award.
“I’m overwhelmed and very grateful for the award and the nomination. I’m fiercely proud to be a South Australian so to get this award from this state is an honour,” he said in his speech.
“I was just going about my two passions, cave diving and medicine. They have grown in parallel since my early 20s. I’ve really enjoyed that path. It seems bizarre that they combined for an event like the one in Thailand.
“The boys are too busy with their international commitments to be in touch but we are planning to go over there next year and see them.”
As for South Australia’s Young Australian, 25-year-old Eleni Glouftsis took home the award after she became the first woman to officiate an AFL game as a field umpire!
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