VANCOUVER — The family of a British Columbia-raised man who braved perilous conditions to help save 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand say he is safe, happy and very tired.
Erik Brown grew up in Langley and owns a diving company in Thailand and his family says when the 35-year-old saw that the boys were trapped he didn't hesitate to join the rescue team.
He posted a photo of himself with other divers on Facebook with the caption, "9 days. 7 missions and 63 hours inside Tham Laung Cave. Success."
9 days. 7 missions and 63 hours inside Tham Laung Cave. SuccessPosted by Erik Brown on Tuesday, 10 July 2018
His brother Kirk Brown says his family was nervous throughout the rescue operation but very happy and proud that he was able to help.
Kirk Brown adds that when news broke that an experienced diver had died during the rescue, that made it even more difficult not to worry.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated and thanked Erik Brown for his participation in the rescue in a post on Twitter.
The Thai cave rescue was a team effort, and I’d like to congratulate and thank Langley’s Erik Brown for stepping up to help get the job done - you’ve made Canadians proud. https://t.co/fMiRvuSs6t— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 11, 2018
"The Thai cave rescue was a team effort, and I'd like to congratulate and thank Langley's Erik Brown for stepping up to help get the job done — you've made Canadians proud," Trudeau wrote.
Kirk Brown says his brother would go into the cave for hours at a time, noting he would sometimes be inside for up to six hours.
"He's a pretty skilled diver, he's very patient, he's very brave," he says. "Of course you have some apprehension, you worry a little bit but he’s very good at what he does.
"You speak to my mom, myself, anybody that knows him, we are all pretty proud of him," he adds. "But to see him use his skills this sort of way doesn't surprise me but I'm very proud he was able to do it."