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Diver who rescued boys from cave in Thailand had to be rescued himself

He had been exploring a newly discovered cave system in Tennessee

Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images

One of the divers who helped to rescue the Thai boys trapped in a cave last July had to be rescued himself on Wednesday.

What happened last year?

Twelve members of a Thai soccer team, ranging in age from 11 to 16, and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non in Thailand when they became trapped on June 23, 2018 due to flooding that made it impossible to leave the same way they entered. After an intensive rescue operation, they were found by British divers on July 2, perched on the muddy slope of a cave. It took until July 10 before they were all rescued. One of the rescuers, a former Thai Navy SEAL, died trying to save the boys.

One of the divers involved in the operation was British cave diver Josh Bratchley.

What happened now?

On Tuesday, Bratchley disappeared while exploring a largely uncharted cave in Jackson County, Tennessee that had been discovered in 2017. According to the Washington Post, before this expedition the Mill Pond Cave system had only been explored by two other men. Bratchley and his team were trying to find tunnels that had not yet been mapped.

The divers he was with failed to notice that he had fallen behind until they were back outside. They went back and tried to find him, but his lifeline had broken. After failing to locate him on their own, they had to call for backup.

After initially struggling to find the exit, Bratchley had realized he should stay put so that rescuers could find him. He found an air pocket and waited for 24 hours for help to arrive.

It wasn't until Wednesday that he was found. He did not have any food or water, but reportedly managed to stay awake and alert. "This was a really small, nasty cave," rescue diver Ed Sorenson said after finding Bratchley.

After so long trapped in a tight space without food, Bratchley only asked for one thing. "His only request was he wanted pizza," Derek Woolbright, a spokesman for the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, told the press.

One last thing…
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