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General Motors Employee Played Key Role in Thai Cave Rescue

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Ruengrit Changkwanyuen is a trained cave diver and a GM IT worker

Rescue workers gather at the entrance of a Thai cave where 12 boys were trapped
Photo: NBT

A General Motors employee played a key role in the recent rescue of 12 boys who were trapped in a flooded Thai cave.

Ruengrit Changkwanyuen is an information technology launch manager at GM’s Thailand Rayong Plant, and he’s also an experienced cave diver. After seeing the news on TV, he volunteered his services to the rescue effort.

Over a 10-day period, Changkwanyuen worked long hours at the rescue site. He served as a trainer and adviser for the Thai Royal Navy SEAL team that headed up the rescue. He also helped to secure special equipment and coordinate efforts with other dive teams on the scene.

This wasn’t the first time that Changkwanyuen has used his diving skills in emergency situations. After the devastating Indonesia tsunami in 2004, he assisted with the grim task of retrieving bodies from the ocean.

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This time, his efforts had a happier ending. After an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks, rescuers saved all 12 boys from the cave, along with the coach of their soccer team. However, one diver lost consciousness underwater and died during rescue operations.

Now 42 years old, Changkwanyuen has been diving since college. He later got certified as a dive instructor and learned cave diving, which is much more complicated than regular diving. It’s more technically difficult, conditions are more claustrophobic, and emergency resurfacing is much more hazardous.

Changkwanyuen told the Detroit Free Press that he was honored to play a part in the rescue, and his efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Afterward, GM CEO Mary Barra sent him an email praising him for his bravery and dedication.

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News Source: Detroit Free Press