Local diving instructor weighs in on Thai rescue challenges


Over the last 11 years, Tyler Brewer and his business, Amber Waves Diving Company, have taught over 2,500 people in the Wichita metro how to scuba dive.

Brewer is an instructor, a master scuba trainer and has dived in Fiji, Micronesia and all over the Caribbean. He and his staff at Amber Waves have watched the news develop on the Thai rescue mission with baited breath.

“It’s got a different flavor to it that probably only a handful to two handfuls of people in the world that could pull off this kind of operation,” Brewer said.

The soccer team trapped in the labyrinth cave system in Thailand faces extra challenges beyond learning scuba diving. Many of the passageways are narrow and without lighting. More rainwater can flood the passageways and further delay rescue operations for the remaining members.

“Just the dive itself, without having to go in and rescue somebody, is challenging enough and as you know very dangerous because along that route of 2.5 miles, they have to stage bottles, air bottles, gas bottles because there won’t be enough air to traverse that distance on one tank of gas,” Brewer said.

Despite the fact that diving will get the boys out of the situation, Brewer said the sport has gotten a bad rap from the ordeal.

“If you’re trained properly and you go to class and you do all the training, it’s one of the safest sports around. It’s magnificent because you get to see things that only 3 percent of the population (sees),” Brewer said.

Some of the boys in the cave cannot swim.

Brewer says their recreational diving class, knowing how to swim is a requirement as well as several hours of training, including learning what can go wrong so as to mitigate the problem in a real situation.

“Everybody at this shop, we’re a Christian organization and we’ve been praying hard for those kids and those divers,” Brewer said.

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