A man who had disappeared after going diving in a Tennessee cave has been brought back to safety, the authorities revealed on Wednesday. The individual was identified as Josh Bratchley who is from the United Kingdom.
Bratchley was one of the heroic British divers who were responsible for helping save a junior football team from a cave in Thailand. He recently had to be rescued from a flooded tunnel after spending more than a day underground in Jackson County in Tennessee. Bratchley had not returned to the surface with the rest of his party after they emerged from the cave on Tuesday, April 16. They attempted to find him several times before alerting and notifying emergency services at around 1 am on Wednesday morning.
Expert divers had to be flown in from Arkansas and Florida and a rescue dive started at around 6 pm on Wednesday evening. The authorities reported that he was successfully rescued around one hour later. Rescue official Derek Woolbright shared in a press conference, "He was awake, alert and oriented. His only request when he got to the surface was that he wanted some pizza." Upon being evaluated by medical crews on the scene, he was found to be stable.
He refused any medical treatment and transport and was praised for his calm and collected demeanor by lieutenant Brian Krebs from Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Services. Krebs shared, "He really did this for himself. Most of what happened here today was Josh, his mental state is excellent, he’s in good health, he’s fine." Rescue diver Edd Sorenson also added, "I could’ve got to him sooner, but I was looking at every nook and cranny looking for a body."
"There were broken lines and it was a very silty, dangerous low cave. We came up to the air pocket and shockingly there he was, calm as could be. He just said ‘thank you, thank you. Who are you?" he continued.
Bratchley was a part of the British cave diving experts team who had helped to rescue 12 boys and their football coach from inside a flooded cave in Thailand last year.