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French expat in Phuket receives Royal Thai honour for Tham Luang Cave rescue

French expat in Phuket receives Royal Thai honour for Tham Luang Cave rescue

PHUKET: Phuket expat diver and French national Maksym Polejaka has received a royal award for his role in the rescue of the 13 “Moo Pa” (“Wild Boar”) children footballers and their coach trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai last year.


By The Phuket News

Wednesday 11 September 2019, 12:17PM


Mr Polejaka received the royal honour, the Fifth Class of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn, during a presentation ceremony held in Paris, at the official residence of Royal Thai Ambassador to France Sarun Charoensuwan, on Monday (Sept 9).

Present for the occasion, organised by the Royal Thai Embassy in Paris, were were Head of the office of the Team Thailand in Paris, Embassy’s officials, representatives from the Thai community and a representative from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, reported the Royal Thai Embassy, Paris.

Amb Sarun expressed his congratulations and praised Mr Polejaka for his courage and dedication in assisting with the high risk mission, which had successfully saved the lives of 13 children and their coach from the flooded cave, the embassy noted in its release.

After serving in the army for 12 years with military diving training, Mr Polejaka worked as a diving instructor in Maldives for four years, with more than 10,000 dives, and a deepest dive reaching 160 metres underwater.

In order to have some new diving skills, he came to Phuket to learn technical diving from Ben Reymenants of Blue Label Diving in Rawai.

Mr Reymenants, who is a certified TDI (Technical Diving Instructor), SSI (Scuba Schools International) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instructor trainer, hyperbaric technician and cave dive trainer.

On hearing about the dire situation with the Moo Pa children and their coach trapped inside the Tham Luang cave, both Mr Polejaka and Mr Reymenants joined the international effort that resulted in safely recovering the children and their coach after 18 days stuck in the cave with flood waters rising.

Read exclusive interviews with Mr Polejaka and Mr Reymenants (See stories here and here.)

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