British Columbia

'He's a remarkable kid': Family cheers B.C. diver who assisted in Thai cave rescue

While diver Erik Brown was on the other side of the world helping with the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, his big brother Kirk’s role was to keep everybody calm back home in Langley, B.C.

Langley native Erik Brown was part of support team for divers who rescued 12 boys and their soccer coach

Erik Brown (left) in a photo posted to his Facebook page Tuesday, shortly after the conclusion of the Thai rescue operation, with fellow divers identifed as Mikko Paasi, (centre) and Claus Rasmussen (right). (Erik Brown/CBC)

While diver Erik Brown was on the other side of the world helping with the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, his big brother Kirk's role was to keep everybody calm back home in Langley, B.C.

Kirk said he tried not to worry too much — but after a Thai navy diver died while preparing for the rescue, that became a bit more difficult.

"You realize, no matter how prepared they are or how skilled somebody is, things can happen like that. It makes you take a step back and realize how lucky you are," Kirk told CBC.

But even with the danger involved in the complicated cave rescue, he knew his brother would be keeping a cool head.

"He can adapt, he can stay calm, he's not somebody to panic. My role wasn't to stay stressed, it was to convey that to my mom when necessary," Kirk said.

"I was happy to do it because I have the most faith in that guy that I could possibly have."

Kirk Brown describes his brother Erik as a country kid who grew up on a farm and became a world traveller. (CBC)

Erik graduated from DW Poppy Secondary School in Langley. His brother described him as a country boy who grew up on a farm and went on to become a world traveller.

Erik's role in the rescue was on a team of support divers assisting the main rescuers, and he kept his wetsuit and boots on for 24 hours a day leading up to the complicated rescue.

He was actively involved in the search on the three days the boys and their coach were brought out of the cave.

Sometimes, Erik would be inside the cave for as long as 12 hours, but he made sure to keep his family updated about the progress of the rescue when he was out.

"He's a remarkable kid — I get to say that cause I'm his big brother. You can see he's grown into a pretty remarkable man. I'm not surprised he was there," Kirk said.

He said his brother is exhausted, but relieved that the rescue was successful, and pleased to see the boys reunited with their happy families.

"I'm very proud of him, not just on how he handled himself during the rescue, but how he's handled discussing it after. He's just talked with pride about everybody he worked with, how they were a team," Kirk said.

Erik has said he hopes to come home to visit his family soon. Kirk says there'll be a big hug waiting for him.

CBC's Heather Hiscox talks with Canadian Thai cave rescuer

3 years ago
Diver Erik Brown highlights the extreme danger rescuers faced during operation 13:59

With files from Anita Bathe

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