Josh Bratchley, a British professional diver who rescued boys and their football coach from a Thai cave in July 12, was rescued from a Tennessee cave on Wednesday.
When Edd Sorenson, a professional diver, flew in to Florida for the rescue, arrived in an air pocket of Mill Pond Cave in Jackson County, Tennessee, he found Mr. Bratchley, who covered himself from head to toe in the mud. He looked "like a snowman" when snowmen were mud, Mr. Sorenson said.
"There he was, as calm as possible," said Mr. Sorenson. "He just said," Thanks, thanks. Who are you? "(1
"He was alert, attentive and oriented," said Derek Woolbright, a spokesman for the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, at a news conference. "His only request when he came to the surface was that he wanted some pizza."
Similar to the Thai salvation, which attracted international attention when the world hoped for a long-term chance for the boys to return safely, rescuers feared the operation on Wednesday would not end well. The other divers believed Mr. Bratchley might not have been able to leave the 55 degree water, which would most likely have resulted in deadly hypothermia. Mr. Sorenson said he could have blown up earlier, but first he had searched for corners and corners to find a corpse.
The cave is about 400 feet long and has little visibility, sharp turns and narrow passages that require the diver to move to single file. It is not yet known how Mr. Bratchley was separated from the line, but Mr. Sorenson found it broken.
Mr. Bratchley's group came out of the cave for the first time at 3:00 pm. on Tuesday and realized that not all of them had come out. After several unsuccessful rescue attempts, the other divers called around 1am on Wednesday, Mr. Woolbright said. At about 2:30 pm Mr. Sorenson's phone rang in Marianna, Florida. He quickly grabbed his scuba gear and booked a flight; The Tennessee Highway Patrol greeted him at the airport by helicopter to take him to the cave.
Although Mr. Sorenson had enough air to get both men out of the cave, Mr. Bratchley had had enough for himself, Mr. Sorenson said. Mr. Bratchley had tried unsuccessfully to find his way three times and decided to save the remaining air for a possible rescue, Mr. Sorenson said.
The operation lasted about an hour, much faster than Mr. Sorenson had expected, he said. Those in need of rescue are often hysterical or panicky, but Mr. Bratchley's mental state was "impeccable" and led to a smoother rescue, Sorenson said.
Mr. Bratchley, a hobbyist, is a meteorologist at the Met Office, the UK's national weather service. He said after the Thai rescue that he was "directly involved in the operation as a cave rescue diver and worked in the diving team to get the children out individually."
Mr. Sorenson, a regional coordinator for the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery Team, has saved five more people in caves, he said. He told Jackson County Floridan in March that he never asked for payment or reimbursement.
Rescues are rare; He is called much more frequently to recover corpses, he said.
"Putting people in body bags is not fun all the time," he said. "And if you send one home, that's an extraordinary feeling."