Hero British dad risked his life to help rescue 12 boys from flooded cave

One of the hero cave divers who helped rescue 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves in Thailand is from Huddersfield.

Jason Mallinson took part in all three dives which brought the boys out in a daring rescue mission, reports the Huddersfield Examiner.

Now Lord Ashcroft is calling for those involved to be awarded with a George Cross or George Medal.

The former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party said: "Please retweet if you would support a George Cross or George Medal to the two volunteer Brit cave divers who found the missing Thai boys and participated in their difficult rescue…"

His tweet has been retweeted more than 2,900 times and liked more than 2,200.

The boys and their football coach suffered a terrifying ordeal for 17 days after they got trapped underground.

The members of the Wild Boars football team aged between 11 and 17 had entered the Tham Luang cave system in the province of Chiang Rai during an excursion with their coach.

Their plight saw a massive, dangerous three-day-long operation to get them out involving a team of 90 expert divers – 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas.

They guided the boys and their coach through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the cave system.

Jason’s parents, Ray and Anne Mallinson, said: “We are very proud of Jason. He went out on Wednesday with half a tonne of equipment.

“We know he is one of the four British lead divers that brought them out. They know each other really well.

"The whole family is very proud of him.”

Jason, who has just turned 50 and lives in Oakes with his partner and 18-month-old boy, had plenty of challenges taking part in the rescue.

The dangerous nature of the caves was underlined by the death of a former Thai navy diver who lost his life there on Friday.

Saman Gunan was returning from a mission to provide the group with air tanks when he ran out of oxygen.

Anne added: “We knew Jason was going on the Tuesday before he flew out.

"We have not had much contact with him but we do know that he has done three trips to bring the boys out.

“All the rescue divers are very modest, they do not get any financial reward.

"They love their jobs and are prepared to take the risks despite knowing how dangerous it is.”

The group got trapped on June 23 after heavy rains flooded their way back out.

They were found by British divers last week, huddled in darkness on a ledge amid fears they could be forced to stay there for months until water receded.

There were cheers as a daring rescue operation involved dozens of divers and hundreds of other rescue workers came to an end on Tuesday evening.

It’s not the first time Jason has been involved in a daring rescue mission.

In 2004 he attracted international attention after flying to Cuetzalan with colleague Richard Stanton to help rescue six Brits trapped in the Cueva Alpazat cave network in the centre of Mexico.

And Jason led a team in 2010 on a two-and-a-half day life-risking dive into the unexplored Pozo Azul cave system in Spain.

The expedition took Jason to territory never reached before, breaking the previous world record which was 4.8 miles.

It’s been likened to climbing Everest and it’s made the four-strong team world record breakers.

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