John Volanthen GM

John Volanthen is a world record-holding British cave diver who has been at the forefront of underground rescue and exploration over the last two decades. John began caving with the scouts at the age of 14 and continues to push the limits of underwater cave exploration to this day. In 2018. John played a key role in the Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue.

Using his background in medical electronics, John has built and sold 2 Information technology businesses. Living in Bristol, in the UK, John spends his ‘spare’ time running ultra marathons.



Best known as the first diver to locate and contact the missing youth Thai soccer team alongside long time diving partner Rick Stanton. Described as the “A Team” of diving rescues by the British Cave Rescue Council, he also planned and participated in the children’s rescue. John has been involved in a number of search, rescue, and recovery incidents in the UK, Ireland, France and further afield.



John has been involved in exploring and mapping caves throughout the world, including the UK, Europe, and Malaysia. John’s success hinges on an innovative approach, designing equipment and procedures to solve the unique difficulties presented by each cave. In Wookey hole in the UK, alongside Rick Stanton, John advanced the British cave diving depth record to over 90M. As part of an International team, John set a world record for the longest cave diving distance from surface, well over 10km.  John continues to explore and document underwater caves throughout the world.



With a background in medical electronics, John has produced innovations to allow the exploration and mapping of ever deeper and more complex caves in a safe and controlled manner. These include and underwater mapping device, communications systems and state of the art, micro rebreathers, allowing divers to stay underwater longer than was previously possible.



John has been recognised by a number of organisations for his cave rescue work:

  • United Kingdom and Commonwealth, George Medal
  • Royal Humane Society, Silver Medal
  • Scout Association, Bronze Cross
  • Royal Humane Society, Bronze Medal
  • National Geographic Adventurer of the year