Diver Who Helped Save Thai Soccer Team Is Rescued From Tennessee Cave

By Bill Galluccio

April 18, 2019

One of the divers who helped rescue a boys soccer team that spent 17 days trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand needed to be rescued after he got trapped in a cave in Tennessee. Josh Bratchley was exploring the Mill Pond Cave system near Gainesboro when he became separated from the group he was with.

When the group returned from their final dive of the day, they realized Bratchley was no longer with them. After unsuccessfully trying to locate him they called 911. A team of expert rescue divers was called in to assist, and they were able to find Bratchley, who had taken refuge near a pocket of air.

Officials say that his experience and expertise saved his life. They explained that the group had been exploring the cave for a few days and Bratchley knew where the air pockets were, which made it easier for the divers, who were flown in from Florida and Arkansas, to locate him in the pitch-black caves.

They expected the rescue attempt to take a few hours, but it was over in just 45 minutes.

"Luckily, Josh was found right where we'd thought he'd be," Lieutenant Brian Krebs, a cave rescue specialist for the Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Service said. "He did not panic. Most of everything he did today was in his head, and he controlled that very, very well."

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