Belgium native Jim Warny arrived home to a hero’s welcome in Ireland after diving at the front end of the rescue of a young Thai soccer team and their coach.

The Irish-based diver who worked in saving twelve young soccer players and their coach from a cave in Thailand has returned home to Ireland to a hero’s welcome. Over 100 people gathered in Shannon airport on Friday morning as Belgium native Jim Warny returned home after working at the front end of the rescue of the Thai soccer team.

Ennis-based diver Warny described it as a “truly amazing miracle” that all the team and their coach were saved, adding that it was  “bittersweet” that Saman Gunan, a former member of the Thai Navy Seals, “didn’t make it”. Gunan lost his life earlier in the rescue mission when placing spare air tanks along the route to the cavern where the boys were trapped.

Read more: Heroes! Meet the men from Ireland who helped make the Thai cave rescue possible

Clare-based diver Jim Warny welcomed home after Thai cave rescue |

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 13, 2018

Warny, who works at Shannon-based Lufthansa Technik, received a call last Friday asking for his help in the rescue mission and after a talk with his fiance and family, flew out on Saturday to assist in the rescue.

“The true heroes of the operation are those boys who endured way more than us,” he said.

“It was a huge operation. It was a rescue with many teams involved from all over the world. The Thai people were heavily invested in it - they are such a nice and friendly nation.

Read more: Limerick equipment used in miraculous rescue of Thai soccer team and coach

Congrats to fellow 🇧🇪Belgian national Jim Warny, resident of 🇮🇪Ennis, Co. Clare and expert cave diver, who played a decisive role in saving the lives of the 12 boys and their coach in Thailand #ThaiCaveRescue!

— Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw (@PEDeBauw) July 10, 2018

“Luckily enough, our particular team is well used to those conditions through our hobby; that is what we do,” he added of the conditions in the cave.

“They are able to manage the risk and the stress and able to perform at the front end of the rescue.”

Warny is now reunited with his nine-year-old son Ciaran, who says that he always trusted his dad would be ok.

“Ciaran was quite confident that his Dad would be okay. He trusts his Dad and he was saying ‘everything is going to be fine’. He is very proud of what his Dad has done,” Warny’s former wife and Ciaran’s mother Kasia Kowalska said.

VIDEO: Jim Warny reflects on his involvement in this week’s Thai cave rescue operation.

— Pat McGrath (@patmcgrath) July 13, 2018

“Jim is very, very experienced and very good at what he does. He is very confident in his own ability. He was saying ‘I know what I am doing’ and he explained everything.

“There is always the fear that something might go wrong. Jim was risking his life and you are always worried so we are relieved that everything worked out fine. As long as he is fine.

“Jim is very, very brave and I’m sure he is absolutely exhausted. We are very proud of what he has done in helping to save the boys and the coach. Without the team’s work, getting the boys out would have been really impossible.”

Welcome home, Jim!