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World Record-Holding British Cave Diver Who Played A Key Role In The 2018 Tham Luang Thailand Cave Rescue
John Volanthen is a world record-holding British cave diver who has been at the forefront of underground rescue and exploration over the last two decades. In 2018, John played a key role in the Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue, and has been involved in a number of search, rescue, and recovery incidents around the world. Living in Bristol, John spends his ‘spare’ time running ultra marathons. John’s book, Thirteen Lessons that Saved Thirteen Lives, was published by Aurum in May 2021.
John Volanthen's videos
What John Volanthen's clients say
"He was amazing. He blew everyone away and had everyone the edge of their seats, people spoke about his session for the rest of the day. His approach and character are amazing and that really came through in the session"
"For the years we have held our conference, we have never had a standing ovation like that for any speaker"
"He brought his story in the most serene way, perfect for the purpose of what we had in mind, and nicely playing into perseverance and creativity. I strongly recommend John to any other event organizer – his added value is tremendous, in any format, to any audience"
"The audience were glued to what you were saying. It was excellent"
"Thank you for your very inspiring talk, and even more important, saving the lives of the children"
"Tears as I listened to you talk, John. And I don't cry when I'm sad, I cry when something touches my soul. I'm sure you and your team touched the souls of many, not the least of which were the boys' and their families"
"What a way to end conference! John was amazing, so inspirational, and an absolute pleasure to have as our conference keynote."
"Something that really stuck with us was hearing a firsthand account from John Volanthen of Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand. His talk on resilience, trust, and teamwork was nothing short of incredible. Managing stress, staying positive and working effectively with a team are all things we can relate to our day to day working, it was truly inspiring hearing him share the lessons he has learned through his experiences."
"We'd like to express our gratitude to the incredible John Volanthen for his inspiring (and harrowing) first-hand account of the Thai Cave Rescue and for coming and spending the morning signing copies of his book "Thirteen Lives." If you have not read this book or watched the recent Hollywood adaptation (starring Colin Farrell as John himself!) we implore you to immediately - Thank you John."
John Volanthen's 2023 biography
Meet John Volanthen
- The first diver to locate and contact the missing youth Thai soccer team, the events of which are chronicled in the National Geographic documentary
The Rescue and the Hollywood film Thirteen Lives, starring Colin Farrell
- Described as the “A Team” of diving rescues by the British Cave Rescue Council, he also planned and executed the team’s rescue
- Tells the incredible story of the Thai rescue and shares why great feats are rarely due to “luck” but rather determination and preparation
John Volanthen is a world record-holding British cave diver who has been involved in cave exploration and rescue for more than two decades. He began caving at the age of 14 and has been at the forefront of cave exploration since. In 2018, he played a key role in the Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue and was named one of TIME magazine’s “Heroes of the Year.” The courageous mission was chronicled in the National Geographic documentary The Rescue, as well as the book Thirteen Lessons That Saved Thirteen Lives: The Thai Cave Rescue and the critically acclaimed Hollywood film, Thirteen Lives, in which Volanthen is played by Colin Farrell.
Volanthen has been involved in exploring and mapping caves throughout the world, often with dive partner Rick Stanton. Volanthen and Stanton attended the Tham Luang incident in Thailand, where the duo were able to locate the missing children — something not even special forces were able to do. They then planned and executed their successful rescue, leading the team two-and-a-half kilometers through the flooded caves. A video of Volanthen and Stanton making initial contact with the team has since gone viral globally. Volanthen takes his audiences on an unforgettable journey deep into the Tham Luang caves of Thailand as he shares lessons that are key to performing in high-pressure situations and reveals how those principles can be applied by any organization working toward its goals.
In 2004, Volanthen and Stanton set a British record for greatest depth achieved in a British cave, cave diving 76 meters (249 feet) at Wookey Hole in Somerset. Additionally, in 2011, Volanthen, set a world record for longest cave penetration dive, over 10 kilometers in the Pozo Azul cave system in northern Spain, involving a multi-day operation.
Volanthen has designed and built diving equipment for 20 years, adapting units commercially available, and building other equipment to meet the unique requirements of individual caves. Problem solving and ‘out of the box’ thinking have been pivotal to his success.
In addition to Tham Luang, John has been involved in a number of other search, rescue, and recovery incidents around the world and has been awarded the George Medal for bravery. He is one of only two people to have been awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold medals by the Royal Humane society for his efforts.
John Volanthen's 2023 talks & topics
John Volanthen's 2023 speaking fees
- United Kingdom
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