Rick Stanton, MBE GM is a British cave diver who specializes in rescues through the British Cave Rescue Council. He learnt to dive while at university in 1979 and has been at the forefront of British cave diving for the best part of three decades. He has been called “one of the world’s most accomplished cave-divers”, “the face of British cave diving,” and “the best cave diver in Europe”.
Stanton is from Coventry and was formerly a firefighter with the West Midlands Fire Service for 25 years prior to his retirement.
Stanton usually cave dives and conducts rescues with a partner, John Volanthen. In 2004 he was involved in the rescue of six British cavers who were trapped in a cave at the Alpazat caverns in Mexico for eight days.
He was also part of a team that attempted a cave rescue of Eric Establie, in the Dragonnière Gaud Cave near Labastide-de-Virac in the Ardèche region of France, in 2010 which was ultimately unsuccessful.
In 2018, he played a key role in locating and rescuing the youth soccer team in the Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue. After locating and participating in the rescue of the missing team and its coach, Stanton said that he and the other cave divers involved were not heroes, saying, “We’re just using a very unique skill set, which we normally use for our own interest and sometimes we’re able to use that to give something back to the community.
He evolved into technical cave exploration using rebreathers, (often two at a time) for extreme long penetration and depth and concentrated on the long deep siphons of Northern Europe.
In 2004 Stanton and Volanthen set a world record for greatest depth achieved in a British cave, cave diving 90 m (249 ft) at Wookey Hole in Somerset. In 2010 Stanton, Volanthen, Jason Mallinson, and René Houben set a world record for longest cave penetration dive, obtaining 8,800 m (28,900 ft) in the Pozo Azul cave system in N Spain.
He has explored caves mainly in the Lot region of SW France, but notably his early dives at the popular site of the Emergence de Ressel in southern France where he surpassed the legendary Swiss diver Olivier Isler's previous limit. This led to a three year project in the late 90's/ early 2000's along with his partner Jason Mallinson which involving dives totalling a distance of over 4000m in five separate sumps and involved spending two days bivouacked inside the cave.
He will be talking about the Thailand Cave Rescue incident