Meet a hero: cave diver Josh Bratchley on the most dangerous rescue mission in modern history

In June 2018, the world watched in anticipation as a young Thai football team and their coach were rescued in dramatic circumstances from the Tham Luang complex cave system which had become flooded following up-country rains. 

Initially, the boys and their coach had been feared dead, until two British cave divers were able to navigate the tight corridors and located the group trapped – and from there came one of the most dangerous and complex rescue missions. 

It resulted in all of the team and their coach being extracted from the cave, bringing an end to their eighteen-day ordeal.  

Since the incident, the young football team known as the ‘Wild Boars’ still remain living in the poor northern town of Mae Sai but have since travelled the world to tell their story, be it in documentaries, talk shows or even the exclusive Netflix deal they have signed up to.  

And now, you can hear all about the terrifying ordeal first-hand.

One of the British cave divers who was involved with in the mission, Josh Bratchley, is coming to Whitworth Locke in Manchester on Thursday 7th November, to deliver a Funzing talk about his first ever role as a cave rescue diver – an experience he will never forget.    

In his talk Thai Cave Rescue: How We Got Them Out, Josh describes step-by-step the many challenges, solutions and of course emotions of the incident, both from his first-hand account as well as those passed on to him from others involved.  

With the lives of the young boys aged 11 to 16 in their hands as well as that of their coach, an intricate and extremely dangerous operation was underway – so dangerous that it claimed the life of Thai rescue diver Saman Kunan, who ran out of oxygen during the operation.               

Josh Bratchley MBE is a British exploratory caver and cave diver, who is actively involved in the discovery and exploration of dry and underwater cave passages in both the UK and overseas.

Following the successful rescue, Josh received an MBE for his part in the operation for services to cave diving overseas alongside fellow rescue team member, Corporal Connor Roe. The MBEs were presented to the men by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace.

The rescue took place in uncharted and unprecedented circumstances with Mr Bratchley stating that the conditions “were absolutely pitch black, with zero visibility”.

“It was kind of like a shuttle relay,” he told ITV at the time. “There were four lead divers who stayed with the kids to give a consistency of care.

“Four people went the whole way and then were shuttled with others assisting, because there were various things that needed to be done like gas changes and reinjection of sedatives.

“The divers had to do the injections. None of us were trained and we had a five-minute crash course beforehand and to make sure we did it right,” he said, also adding that “Princess Anne seemed very impressed with what we did.”

The whole world was impressed. Don’t miss this chance to hear the full story of one of the most dangerous rescue missions in modern history for yourself.

Thai Cave Rescue: How We Got Them Out is on Thursday 7th November from 7pm, Whitworth Locke, Manchester.



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