WAUNAKEE (WKOW) — Although the rescue of soccer team members in Thailand was more than 8,000 miles away, people here in southern Wisconsin are still in awe of the feat.
"You have no idea the psychological problem that this is," said Master Dive Instructor Mark Kosikowski. "Cave diving is so much more extreme than any other type of scuba diving. It’s absolutely beyond comprehension."
Kosikowski has been diving for more than 40 years. He’s even experienced in cave diving but he’s still impressed by the Thailand Cave Rescue.
"Amazing operation, I’m surprised they were able to pull it off," said Kosikowski.
It wasn’t just the depth of the cave that impressed him. It was how the divers dealt with the boys.
"I have no idea how they could have pulled off what they did," said Kosikowski. "They had to somehow get these kids up to speed on this new equipment and how to deal with it and then keep them calm."
The boys were given face masks instead of just a mouthpiece for breathing. It makes it easier because they can breathe through both their mouth and nose.
They also had wetsuits, boots and helmets. Despite all the gear, conditions were still rough.
"In near pitch black conditions, we’re talking silty water." said Kosikowski. "You can’t see your hand in front of your face."
Although this rescue put diving in the spotlight Kosikowski isn’t sure if it will attract more people to learning the skill.
"If anything it might have the opposite effect which is too bad," said Kosikowski. "Because, as a sport, scuba diving, honestly is one of the safest things you can do."
Kosikowski has been a master instructor with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors since 1991.
He has personally certified thousands of new open water divers through his scuba school Kosmic Divers.