JIM WARNY, the County Clare cave diver who made headlines after travelling halfway around the world to help rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand has spoken out about his experience.
The evacuation of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave back in June made headlines all over the world.
Warny was one of those watching along on TV and, sensing an opportunity to put his expert cave diving skills to good use, picked up the phone.
An experienced cave diver from numerous international expeditions, he knew exactly who to get in touch with from the close-knit cave diving community.
"Exploring and mapping caves has been my passion for the past 15 years," Warny told Irish Central in an exclusive interview.
"When they were looking for support divers for the extraction, they wanted people that they were used to working with and people like them to come over. They wanted people they could trust."
Within 48 hours he was on a plane headed to Bangkok, arriving at the cave a day later to help the small group of seven British cave divers assisting in the rescue mission.
Warny went on to play a crucial role in the planning and execution of the rescue.
With the decision made to sedate the stranded group for the treacherous journey back through the underwater cave, he was tasked with carrying the team's coach to safety.
It was a situation that was phase most ordinary folk, but not an experienced cave diver.
"We have to be prepared to operate in environments that are somewhat unpredictable or to be able to manage stress in unpredictable environments," he told Irish Central.
A national hero back in Thailand, Warny is now teaming up with film producer Tom Waller for a film based on his experiences.
The Cave is due to begin filming in Thailand this November, with Warny hoping the movie will shine a light on their experience.
The full Irish Central interview with Jim Warny can be read here.