Irish-based diver returns home to hero's welcome after role in Thai cave rescue

Jim Warny recived a hero’s welcome at Shannon Airport in County Clare

Irish-based diver returns home to hero's welcome after role in Thai cave rescue

Jim Warny is greeted by his fiancee Asia Mania as he arrives into Shannon Airport, 13-07-018. Image: Arthur Ellis Photography

Irish-based diver Jim Warny is back on Irish soil after taking part in the dramatic cave rescue in Northern Thailand. 

The Belgian received a hero’s welcome at Shannon Airport in County Clare after touching down in the past hour.

Mr Warny hit world headlines for his part in the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped in a flooded cave complex in Thailand for over two weeks.

Despite personally bringing some of the boys out of the cave, Mr Warny played down his role.

"It was a huge operation," he said. "A rescue with many teams involved from all over the world."

"It is a truly amazing miracle that through all those people coming together those boys got to go home to their families."

Speaking the arrivals hall of Shannon Airport, Mr Warny said he was very fortunate to have been able to take part, but insisted that the boys were the true heroes of the story.

he said it was a very complex rescue; 

"It was pretty difficult," he said. "Luckily enough our particular team is well used to those kind of condition through our hobby- that is what we do."

"We were able to manage the risk and the stress and we were very fortunate to have been able to this.

"But the true heroes weer those boys that endured way more danger than us."

Mr Warny has lived in Ennis for 15 years and was greeted by friends and family as he touched down this morning.

Among the crowds were is fiancee Asia Mania, his dad Rene Warny and members of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation. 

The Lufthansa engineer said he was relieved to finally be home.

"I am very happy to be back with my family, my fiancee and my dad," he said. "I know they have been worried.

Fiancee Asia Mania said she was "very happy" to have her fiancee home.

"I was worried for him but he is so good at what he does. He goes caving and diving constantly and I have complete trust in him, he is the best."

Mr Warny's dad Rene said he is "very proud" of his son.

"There is someone up there, his mother in heaven, who is very proud of him too," he said.

The Mayor of Ennis, Claire Colleran Molloy was one of those gathered at Shannon Airport waiting for Mr Warny to touch down.

“He is the father of a young lad himself,” she said “And you know he still had no issue with volunteering to go an assist in the rescue of 12 young boys and a coach.”

Jim Warny is greeted by his fiancee Asia Mania as he arrives into Shannon Airport, 13-07-018. Image: Arthur Ellis Photography