Australia

Thai cave diver vying for Aussie of Year

Thai cave rescuer Craig Challen (left) is the WA nominee for Australian of the Year. (AAP)

Retired veterinarian Craig Challen, who helped rescue 12 boys and their coach from a flooded Thai cave, is WA's nominee for Australian of the Year.

An "ordinary bloke" who helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thai cave could soon be bestowed the honour of Australian of the Year.

Retired veterinarian Craig Challen, is the West Australian nominee for Australian of the Year, while his dive partner, anaesthetist Richard Harris, is the South Australian nominee.

The pair, who have already received the Star of Courage for their roles in the daring July rescue mission in the northern province of Chiang Rai, are tipped to jointly take out the honour.

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Thai cave boys make their first public appearance since rescue
Thai cave boys make their first public appearance since rescue

They were preparing for a trip to the Nullarbor when they received the call for help.

Working up to 12 hours a day, Mr Challen repeatedly risked his life as the children were taken through the narrow and dark Tham Luang Nang Non cave.

The ordeal lasted more than two weeks and Dr Challen has previously described it as a desperate situation.

"We were just two ordinary blokes who have got an unusual hobby not many people have heard of," he said.

"I just can't stress how bleak the outlook was for those kids in there."

The book and film rights to the international cave rescue story have reportedly been sold for about $6 million to a US publisher and movie house.

The Australian doctors are each expected to pocket about $1.5 million, with the rest to be shared between the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach.

Then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time that the rescue was "one of the most heroic and inspiring episodes of our time".

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Thai Cave Rescue Timeline
Thai Cave Rescue Timeline

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