One of the British divers who helped save the Thai cave schoolboys became the focus of a similar rescue mission – but only wanted pizza when he was retrieved after 28 hours trapped underground.
Josh Bratchley had been exploring a flooded cave in Jackson County, Tennessee, with a group of divers from the UK when he failed to return to the surface at around 3pm local time on Tuesday.
His fellow daredevils spent hours searching for their missing friend, but he was nowhere to be found, sparking fears for his safety.
After authorities were alerted in the early hours of Wednesday morning, two expert divers from different US states were flown in to assist with the rescue mission.
They entered the 400ft cave system at around 6pm local time and found Mr Bratchley waiting calmly in an air pocket and he was back on the surface around an hour later.
“He was awake, alert and oriented,” rescue official Derek Woolbright told a press conference.
“His only request when he got to the surface was that he wanted some pizza.”
Mr Bratchley was checked over by medics who found he was “stable” and he declined further treatment.
The cave diving enthusiast was part of a crack team of British cave diving experts who helped save 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand last year.
A meteorologist by trade, he was later honoured at a reception held by the Prime Minister at Downing Street and appointed MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list.
The diver was praised for his composure by lieutenant Brian Krebs, from Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Services.
“He really did this for himself. Most of what happened here today was Josh, his mental state is excellent, he’s in good health, he’s fine.”
Rescue diver Edd Sorenson added: “I could’ve got to him sooner, but I was looking at every nook and cranny looking for a body.
“There were broken lines and it was a very silty, dangerous low cave. We came up to the air pocket and shockingly there he was, calm as could be.
“He just said ‘thank you, thank you. Who are you?'”