UPDATE: U.K. diver who helped save Thai soccer team is rescued from Middle TN cave
UPDATE: Emergency crews in northern Tennessee on Wednesday night safely retrieved a British cave diver who was part of the dramatic rescue of a Thai youth soccer team last year.
A diver safely retrieved Josh Bratchley from the Mill Pond Cave system near Gainesboro in Jackson County, about 65 miles northeast of Nashville, authorities said. Bratchley — who was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in December for his role in the Thai rescue last summer — was in good shape and refused medical treatment, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Bratchley was with a small team of British divers who have been exploring the cave system for two or three days, said Ethan Burris, a spokesman for the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency.
The group called 911 shortly after midnight Tuesday when members noticed that Bratchley was unaccounted for after their last dive Tuesday afternoon, Burris said. Burris said the group's members waited to call 911 because they were searching for their colleague themselves.
A trained diver was sent into the cave system about 6 p.m. Wednesday and found Bratchley about an hour later, authorities said.
Lt. Brian Krebs, a cave rescue specialist for the Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Service — members of which were flown in by the state Highway Patrol to help in the rescue — said the dive that rescue specialists made Wednesday night was about 400 feet long through a tight passage.
"Luckily, Josh was found right where we'd thought he'd be," Krebs said.
Because of Bratchley's expertise, Krebs said, what had been feared to be a recovery mission of as long as two hours turned out to be a safe rescue that took only 45 minutes.
"He did not panic. Most of everything he did today was in his head, and he controlled that very, very well," Krebs said.
Derek Woolbright, a spokesman for the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, said Bratchley had only one request when he emerged from the water Wednesday night: "He wanted some pizza."
PREVIOUS STORY: The Chattanooga-Hamilton Rescue Cave Cliff Team was called to help with a rescue operation in Gainsboro which is in Jackson County, TN.
Members of the team headed out just after 4:30 Wednesday morning and are now on the scene.
Details are limited, but a Jackson County official says the original call came in around 1:17 a.m. and at least one person is needing help.
More emergency and specialized crews are on the way.
The cave is located on Flynns Creek Road which is close to State Highway 56.
The official says this is not a popular spot for caving.
We'll continue to follow this developing story.