Richard Stanton (cave diver)
Richard William Stanton
|Known for||Cave diving, cave rescue|
Richard William Stanton MBE (born 1961/62), also known as Rick Stanton, is a British civilian cave diver who specializes in rescues through the Cave Rescue Organisation and the British Cave Rescue Council. He has been called "one of the world's most accomplished cave-divers", "the face of British cave diving," and "the best cave diver in Europe". Stanton is from Coventry and was formerly a firefighter with the West Midlands Fire Service for 25 years prior to his retirement. In 2018 he played a leading role in the Tham Luang cave rescue.
Stanton was born and grew up in Epping Forest District in Essex. He attributes his interest in cave diving to a television programme he watched as a teenager, The Underground Eiger, saying, "After watching it, I just knew that cave-diving was for me." Stanton studied at Aston University, where he joined both the caving and the diving clubs. He began as a self-taught diver in the River Lune in Cumbria and Lancashire.
Caving and rescues
Stanton usually cave dives and conducts rescues with a partner, John Volanthen. In 2004 he was involved in the rescue of six British cavers who were trapped in a cave at the Alpazat caverns in Mexico for eight days. Stanton was also part of a team that attempted a cave rescue of Eric Establie, in the Dragonnière Gaud Cave near Labastide-de-Virac in the Ardèche region of France, in 2010 which was ultimately unsuccessful.
Norwegian authorities asked him to assist to recover the bodies of two Finnish divers from Jordbrugrotta in 2014, but after diving down to the site he and his colleagues deemed the operation too risky.
In 2018, he helped locate a youth soccer team in the Tham Luang cave rescue. After locating and participating in the rescue of the missing team and its coach, Stanton said that he and the other cave divers involved were not heroes, saying, "We’re just using a very unique skill set, which we normally use for our own interest and sometimes we’re able to use that to give something back to the community."
In 2004 Stanton and Volanthen set a world record for greatest depth achieved in a British cave, cave diving 76 m (249 ft) at Wookey Hole in Somerset. In 2010 Stanton, Volanthen, Jason Mallinson, and René Houben set a world record for longest cave penetration dive, obtaining 8,800 m (28,900 ft) in the Pozo Azul cave system in the Rudrón Valley in Spain.
Stanton is a technical diver, developing his own diving gear to great effect. He developed two closed-circuit rebreather units; this novel technology has been "instrumental in his achieving cave diving depth records around the world." One modification was to allow the rebreather to be worn on the side of the body rather than the chest or back. This is advantageous in fitting through smaller spaces. He builds prototypes of his designs and tests them in swimming pools before using them in caves.
Awards and honours
In 2008 he received the EUROTEK "Diver of the Conference Award" for his "significant contribution to advanced and technical diving."  Stanton's rescue attempt of a diver in a French cave, and assistance in identifying the location of that diver's body, earned him the Royal Humane Society's bronze medal in 2012.
He also received the 'Hero of the Year' award at the West Midland Fire Service's Aspire Awards.
He was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours, "For services to Local Government".
In November 2018, Stanton and five other members of the British cave rescue team were given the Pride of Britain 2018 award for "Outstanding Bravery" for the Tham Luang incident. The rescued children attended the award ceremony, in London.
- John Volanthen, fellow British diver in the Tham Luang cave rescue
- Nick Allen; Francesca Marshall; Victoria Ward (4 July 2018). "Thailand cave rescue: Meet the 'A-Team' of heroic volunteer British divers who led search"". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
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- "British divers insist they are not heroes after Thai cave rescue". The Irish Times. The Irish Times. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
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- Roy, Eleanor Ainge (2 July 2018). "British divers at heart of Thai cave rescue among best in world". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- Gallant, Jeffrey (20 November 2017). "Awards Hall of Fame". Diving Almanac. Diving Almanac & Book of Records. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- Royal Humane Society (2012). Annual Report 2012 (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- "Coventry fireman is made MBE in New Year Honours". Coventry Telegraph. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- "No. 60367". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 28 December 2012. p. 22.
- "Displaying items by tag: 2018 - Pride of Britain Awards". Pride of Britain. Retrieved 6 November 2018.