Meet the Irish-based cave diver who 'risked his life' to rescue the boys in Thailand

An Irish-based cave diver was part of the international team who helped rescue the 12 boys and their coach in Thailand yesterday.

Jim Warny from Belgium is a member of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation and lives in Ennis, Co.Clare.

He flew out on Friday to assist in the mission after an appeal from Thai authorities.

The group who were trapped for more than two weeks are now in hospital where they are being mentally and physically assessed.

Clare County Councilor Mary Howard says Mr Warny has been living in Ennis for around 15 years.

Ms Howard said: "He's actually a Belgian national who is living in Ennis. I do know extended members of his family, but he has been here for 14 or 15 years.

"He works in Lufthansa in Shannon and he was a diving instructor initially when he came to Ennis first."

Mr Warny, a member of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation, was last night praised by Ms Howard.

Jim Warny.

“Little did we know that we have a hero in our community,” she wrote on Facebook.

“A close family friend today told me Jim did not hesitate for a moment when he was called to help rescue the Thai group stranded in a cave.

“He has dropped work, risked his life and health, risked his own son Ciaran losing his father, so he could bring 12 boys and an adult back to their families.

“His cave diving experience and big heart made the mission a success.

“When we turn our heads away from terrifying images in TV he was right there privileged, as he said, to be asked to help them.

"Brave, strong, dedicated, focused but also sensitive and gentle,” she wrote.

Mr Warny is said to be reunited with his family in the next few days and Ms Howard said the local community should recognise his bravery.

She said: "I will speak with my colleagues at Clare County Council over the coming days that we as a community and council recognize the bravery of this incredible man.

"Jim have a safe journey home to your friends and family who miss you (especially Ciaran) and we are all humbled by your selflessness."

- Digital Desk

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