John Volanthen is a British caver and cave diver who has been involved in cave exploration over the last 2 decades. John began caving with the scouts at the age of 14 and has been at the forefront of cave exploration since combining caving and diving. In 2018 John played a key role in the Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue.
John has been involved in exploring and mapping caves throughout the world, including the UK, Europe and Malaysia, often with dive partner Rick Stanton.
In 2004 Stanton and Volanthen set a world record for greatest depth achieved in a British cave, cave diving 76 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 the Rudrón Valley in Spain, involving a multi day operation, camping beyond 6km of sumps.
John has built and modified rebreather systems for 15 years, adapting units commercially available, and building other units to meet the unique requirements of individual caves. John also built a sump mapping device to survey long and deep sumps where traditional compass and note pad techniques are not feasible.
John has been involved In a number of search, rescue and recovery incidents including the recovery of Paul Esser, the Gliesion Colliary flooding and the search for Eric Estable in the Ardeche for which John was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze medal.
More recently, John attended the Tham Luang incident in Thailand, where along with dive partner Rick Stanton, John was able to locate the missing children, and then participate in their extraction.