50YO S’porean Diver Who Helped Save Thai Cave Survivors Reveals Details About The Mission

Image: channelnewsasia.com

Step aside, Joseph Schooling. Okay, I’m kidding. I still love you but for this week, let’s put the limelight on Mr Douglas Yeo.


Who the heck is he?

If you’re thinking he’s a one-hit wonder that did something so viral he got blasted to the limelight…that he did.

And if you’re thinking he’s going to plunge down into the depths of anonymity after the excitement has passed? That’ll probably happen.

Not that he really cares.

Because what he did? He did it for the love, the compassion and everything sweet that made up Powerpuff Girls.

Meet Mr Douglas Yeo.

Image: straitstimes.com

The Singaporean who took part in the Thai cave rescue that gripped the hearts and eyes of people from all over the world.

And he was part of the team to rescue the last 4 boys and their coach from the cave network where they were stuck at.

Image: hardwarezone.com.sg

How did he get to join the operation?

We know that our prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has actually written to his counterpart in Thailand and offered assistance for the Thai rescue mission.

Image: Facebook

So was this man sent over by Singapore? Nope. And it wasn’t known what assistance Singapore has offered for the rescue mission.

Mr Yeo, who runs a dive school Sunfish Dives in Bintan, said that he signed up to volunteer for the rescue operation after talking it over with his mother and wife.

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He said that he was motivated to chip in and help after reading about the situation unfolding in the Tham Luang cave.

And after contacting an official of the rescue operation, he rushed down to the site where he was tasked to evacuate the last group of survivors.

Cold, Dark and Dangerous

When asked about the rescue operation, these three things stood out the most in his mind.

Image: businessinsider.com

The muddy waters made the visibility so poor in the water, they had to trust in a guide line to bring them through the passages.

And during the rescue operation, he remembered the agonising wait he and his team had to go through.

They had to wait for 9 hours in the ‘freezing cold water’ before they were given the orders to move the boys out.

And the rescue dive itself is no joke

Imagine going into the pitch black darkness and freezing cold water, and getting pressed on all side by hard rocks.

That scares the heck out of you, even as an adult, right?

I mean, after hearing about the Thai cave rescue, I went to check out videos of cave-diving. And I swear, even the thought of doing it makes me claustrophobic.

Now imagine a young teenager who’s going to go through it.

Image: vox.com

One of the riskiest parts of the operation is that the boy panics and lose his mind. Not only is it dangerous to the kid himself, it’s dangerous to the divers too.

After all, we’ve seen plenty of videos where people panic and start struggling. Just think back to the last fail video you’ve seen about a drowning girl.

And how she slaps away rescuers and struggled like mad, despite the fact that she’s only dooming herself to certain death.

Now, superimpose that image on the Thai Cave rescue and suddenly, it doesn’t seem funny anymore.

But he managed to do it anyway

And that’s with the help of new brothers he made during the operation.

Image: channelnewsasia.com

His buddy, Joe, was his inspiration and guidance in the rescue mission.

“Joe took care of me. We went to the toilet together, prepared food for each other and we made it out together, mission accomplished.”

And now, he proclaimed, they’re brothers for life.

Mr Douglas Yeo, Not The Only Singaporean In The Search Effort

While the spotlight is shined on Mr Yeo for his efforts in the water, there’s another 57-year-old Singaporean who was taking part in the operation as well.

In a different way.

Image: tnp.sg

Meet Mr Poh Kok Wee, 57 years old, and has 10 years of experience in high rise work. He owns a company that installs high-rise signs and solar panels near Bangkok.

He, and four professional climbers in his employment, volunteered to help out in the rescue mission.

After getting their skills verified by the Thai military, they were brought to the Tham Luang cave.

For the next five days, they scoured the mountain and tried finding alternate entrances to the cave’s passage.

They had only 4-5 hours of sleep daily and had to be escorted by the military because of drug traffickers, who were operating nearby in an area called the “Golden Triangle”.

Moral of the Story

Okay, this isn’t really appropriate ‘cuz it’s really, really serious. But honestly, there are a few things that really need to be taken away from this entire incident.

First thing first, always heed danger signs. 

Image: Aleksandar Levai / Shutterstock.com

I mean, the signs are put in place for a reason. Nobody is going to stop you from doing something just because. There’s always a reason for it.

And this situation occurred because the group ignored the no entry during rainy season sign placed at the entrance.

And secondly, you can do things if you set your mind to it

I mean, think about it. These two Singaporeans are a rare breed.

Most Singaporeans would be like, oh, I’ll wait for the Singapore government to offer their services. Or, I’ll wait for MY government to ask for permission before I join.

But not these two gentlemen, oh no.

They saw the need for them, contacted the rescue operation’s officials and went to do it.

Now, that’s commendable.

Image: memegenerator.net

And the fact that they did it not for glory, but because they genuinely want to help? Amazing.

After all, no one knew if the rescue operation was going to be a success. But then again, that’s just me.

So, what do you think about them? National heroes or just plain kaypo people?

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