In 2018 the world held its breath when monsoon rain trapped the Wild Boars youth soccer team and their coach deep underground in Thailand.
An army of rescue teams and equipment was deployed: Thai Navy SEALs, a US Air Force special tactics squadron, police sniffer dogs, drones and robots. But it was John, alongside his long-time cave diving partner Rick Stanton, who found the boys and led the team to success.
John Volanthen began caving with the Scouts at 14. He is now a record-holding British cave diver and has been at the forefront of underground rescue and exploration for more than 20 years. John runs his own IT business and has invented underwater mapping devices, communication systems and micro rebreathers, allowing divers to stay underwater longer than previously possible.
Heather French, festival organiser said; “ John’s new book Thirteen Lessons That Saved Thirteen Lives tells the nail-biting story of the race against time and how their well-planned mission paid off.
"I’ve just read it and was totally engrossed from page one. It’s not just a tale of bravery, it’s also a chapter by chapter guide to learning through life experiences. His approach can be applied to a number of everyday situations and everyone can learn from it. “
“John used his previous cave dive experience to plan the Thai Cave rescue and it’s a tale of courage under extreme pressure.
"But despite careful planning the divers were in a race against time and the rescue was fraught with challenges. The inexperience of the children - some of whom couldn’t swim - for starters.
"The weight of the equipment needed to bring them safely out of the caves and the steely concentration needed throughout the whole mission despite the exhausting dives.
"It’s an amazing tale of hope against huge odds and I recommend this event highly. John is an unassuming man, who sees himself more as Clark Kent than Superman but he is always on standby for the next rescue. Don’t miss him at Books by the Beach Sunday 12 June, 3pm at St Mary’s Church, Scarborough."
The festival runs at various venues in Scarborough n Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12.