Canberra diver Chris Markcrow has joined the huge 2018 international cave rescue to rescue Thai schoolchildren | The Canberra Times

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Standing at the water’s edge in his heavy diving gear, peering into one of the chains of caves that trapped Thai schoolchildren in 2018, an electric cable at Chris Markcrow’s feet began to ignite and burn. The heavy black cables provided power to the pumps set up deep within the cave system to keep the water level from rising. The four divers just below him immediately jumped out of the water, fearing a short circuit in the jury-rigged net would turn the entire system “alive”. “There was no way to know if it was alive or not and the clock was ticking; it was a calculated risk and we had to get in there,” said the 20-year veteran of the federal police diving team. “So my dive buddy and I looked at each other, took off our masks and jumped in.” There were a lot of calculated risks that had to be taken for that job. ” for his part in the rescue in 2018 of the 12 junior footballers who were trapped by rising water in the cave system of Tham Luang, the fourth largest in Thailand.The extraordinary story made headlines around the world and the six Australians were in the thick of it for days – often 14 hours each – battling mental and physical fatigue, heat stress, and for some time, wondering if the boys are alive or dead.The wet suits and face masks worn by the divers during the cave rescue are part of Exposition of Australian Federal Police at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery from now until February next year.It is a small exhibition but each object has a unique backdrop nton that encapsulates the diversity of work of federal officers, f rom forensics to K9, counter-terrorism to drug investigations, peacekeeping and the massive search and recovery initiative following the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, shot down over war-torn Ukraine. Standing in front of the display of battered wet suits worn during the rescue, Senior Constable Mackcrow remembers when the call first came through. “It was 3.30 on Friday afternoon and I was on duty down at the water police sheds at Yarralumla,” he said. “It was the Bangkok office [of the AFP] on the phone asking us if we had the ability to go there and, if so, how quickly we could do it. “Two hours later he packed his suitcases and joined his other group members on the tarmac, piled high with suitcases of diving gear, ready for the RAAF flight.At 4.30 am the next day, they were on site in northern Thailand.He described this emergency deployment as the most physically and mentally demanding he had experienced in his 23 years as a police officer and specialist diver. “The most notable moment however was when the confirmation came through the camp that they [the boys] were alive; the place became quite quiet; everyone knew this was now a time-critical rescue mission, “he said.” From that moment on, all activity has accelerated. “The exhibition will run until March 5. Our journalists are working hard to provide local, up-to-date. date news. Here’s how you can keep accessing our trusted content:


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