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Malta-based rescue diver honoured by King of Thailand

A Malta-based diver has received Thailand’s highest honour for helping to rescue 12 boys from a flooded cave.

Mikko Paasi, who runs the Koh Tao Divers Malta dive centre in Bugibba, received the extraordinary bravery award from the Asian country’s King.

He said: ‘I am very humble and thankful to receive such an honour from the King of Thailand.

‘This recognition should be shared with and inspire all of us who made the impossible possible.’

The boys and their football coach were trapped in the Tham Luang caves in northern Thailand for more than two weeks in June, before they were rescued by a team of international divers , including Mr Paasi.

One boy described how they had lived on water dripping from the roof of the cave.

Chanin Wibrunrungrueang, 11, said: ‘I tried not to think about food because it would make me hungry.’

Mr Paasi was handed the honour at a special ceremony in Bangkok’s royal palace.