Numerous reports from the US confirm that Josh Bratchley returned to the surface safe and well around 7pm local time last night after being trapped in Mill Pond Cave near Nashville in Tennessee for over 24 hours.
Josh was part of five-man team exploring the cave when he failed to return to the surface on Tuesday.
Reports suggest his fellow divers launched a search but couldn’t locate him and a rescue was then initiated by Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Service. Josh had found shelter in an airbell before a US rescue team that included divers from Florida and Arkansas located him on Wednesday, around 400ft into the cave, which is described as narrow with limited visibility.
British Cave Rescue Council chairman Peter Dennis said: “We learnt with a sense of grave concern that Josh Bratchley had been reported overdue from a diveline-laying, exploratory dive in Millpond Cave, Tennessee yesterday morning. There was an anxious wait whilst the rescue operation was mobilised by Chatanooga-Hamilton County Rescue Service, supported by experienced US cave divers.
“We received the wonderful news that Josh was alive and out of the cave just after midnight last night, a huge relief to all concerned. I extend our gratitude to the Chatanooga-Hamilton County Rescue Service for their prompt action and professionalism to achieve this happy outcome. We await with interest further details of Josh’s adventure, once he has recuperated.”