AN expert diver from north Essex has been drafted in to help with the mission to free a group of children stuck in a cave in Thailand.

Hotelier Tim Acton, originally from Wrabness, is now based in Bangkok and previously worked alongside a crack team of Navy Seal divers when they were undergoing medical checks and training six months ago.

They contacted Tim, 39, who has previously worked in the commercial diving industry and he was flown over to the Tham Luang cave system where the group are trapped.

Proud dad John said his son would not have wavered when asked to give his support.

He said: “It is the selflessness which makes it so special. “He is not out for any credit or reward, he just wants to help.”

The 12 boys and their coach got stranded in the cave system after their expedition was hit by freak rainfall.

Miraculously, they were found alive after more than a week and a massive rescue operation has since been launched.

The boys, who cannot swim, have been taught to use diving equipment and are being moved more than two miles out of the caves alongside experts in total darkness.

It is understood eight of the boys have now been rescued and transferred to hospital.

Plans are in place to rescue the rest today.

Tim’s wife, Took, and nine-year-old daughter Milly are now based at the camp.

The nature of his role is not clear, but he was working closely with tragic diver Saman Gunan who died after delivering oxygen supplies to the stranded group.

John said: “They’ve had to measure his shoulders to see if he could fit into the holes.

“I’m in touch with his wife to try and keep updated but they are not telling her too much.

“He was working closely with the man who died and apparently afterwards morale was very low.”

Tim left Wrabness 12 years ago to go and live in Thailand.

Since then he has been caught in a Tsunami and had to be rescued himself by a helicopter whilst he was in the Pacific Ocean.

John’s other son, Benjamin, is a major in the Paratroop regiment.

He said: “I sometimes joke it is them who have made my hair turn grey.

“But I could not be anymore proud of what they have done.”