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Diver who helped save Thai soccer team rescued from Tenn. cave

By
Clyde Hughes

April 18 (UPI) -- A British diver who helped rescue the Thai youth soccer team last year from a flooded cave was himself rescued Wednesday after he became trapped in a Tennessee cave.

Jackson County authorities reported diver Josh Bratchley missing early Wednesday after he did not exit the cave with four others. Bratchley and his fellow divers were exploring a flooded cave near Flynns Creek in Gainesboro, Tenn.

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Chuck Sutherland, a caver and photographer, told the Cookeville Herald-Citizen that Bratchley got cut off from the rest of the divers when his line broke.

Authorities called in trained divers from Arkansas and Florida to search the cave to find Bratchley. They found him later Wednesday near an air pocket of the cave.

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"They were confident in the man's abilities, and his mental and physical shape to be able to handle this sort of thing," said Derek Woolbright of the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency. "His only request was he wanted pizza."

Rescue divers had to dive for about 45 minutes to find Bratchley.

"He said 'Thank you. Thank you. Who are you?'" rescue driver Edd Sorenson told reporters.

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Bratchley was part of a diving team that rescued 12 boys and their coach from a cave in Thailand last July after they were trapped for 18 days by floodwaters. The rescue made international headlines as divers from other countries offered their assistance.

Bratchley and other divers were honored by the British Cave Rescue Council for their work.

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