Clare’s caving hero says he’s happy to be home, but insists the real heroes of the story are the young boys he helped rescue.
Ennis-based Jim Warny was one of a number of expert cave divers called in from around the world to get 12 boys and their soccer coach out of a Thai cave where they were trapped for two weeks.
He’s received a hero’s welcome at Shannon Airport, from there Clare FM’s James Mulhall has this report:
Jim Warny was exhausted but happy as he landed back in Shannon this morning.
Jim travelled thousands of miles to help rescue the 12 young boys and their soccer coach who spent two weeks trapped in an underground cave in Thailand.
Born in Belgium and living in Ennis for the past 15 years, Jim is an expert cave diver and prominent member of the Irish Cave Rescue Association.
His dad René has come over from Flanders in Belgium to greet his son.
He recalls the moment Jim rang him to tell him where he was going.
The operation lasted several days and thankfully all 12 boys and their coach were taken out of the cave safely with no lasting injuries.
Jim says there were times when they feared that wouldn’t be the case:
Now, after 24 hours of travelling, he’s finally back on Irish soil and has been joined by member of his family.
But his fiancée Asia Mania was always confident he would be back safely:
And despite a harrowing few days on the other side of the world, it doesn’t look like Jim will be staying out of the caves for long.
His colleague in the Irish Cave Rescue Association and fellow Ennis man Brían Mac Coitir says he’ll soon be back to where he belongs:
Now, after a long journey home, Jim has plenty of catching up to do but first, it’s home to rest.