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Buddhist monk rescued from flooded cave after 4 days

A team of technical divers rescued a Buddhist monk from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. The man had been trapped and cut off from the world for four days. The incident echoes a few years ago when a similar situation happened to a group of young footballers and their coach. According to available information,
Published: April 8, 2021 - 15:54
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:20
Buddhist monk rescued from flooded cave after 4 days

A team of technical divers rescued a Buddhist monk from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. The man had been trapped and cut off from the world for four days. The incident echoes a few years ago when a similar situation happened to a group of young footballers and their coach.

According to available information, 46-year-old Buddhist monk Phra Ajarn Manat had been trapped since Saturday, April 3. It was on that day that he entered the Tham Phra Sai Ngam cave, located in Thung Salaeng National Park. The man had planned to spend the weekend indulging in meditation.

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Buddhist monk trapped in flooded cave
Buddhist monk waited for 4 days for help from rescuers photo Prasat Bun Sathan Rescue Foundation

As in the case of young footballers and their coach in 2018.the water cut off the monk’s way back and trapped him inside the cave. Certainly, the main cause was a sudden storm followed by further heavy rainfall. As a result, the water cut off the man’s way out and forced him to retreat deeper into the vast system.

The Buddhist monk had visited the cave before and local residents knew about his annual April pilgrimage. It was they who guessed that the man had been cut off by the water and raised the alarm.

rescue operation in a flooded cave
Rescuers helped the monk safely out of the cave photo by Prasat Bun Sathan Rescue Foundation
Experienced rescuers

Volunteers from the Prasat Bun Sathan rescue service police and park staff arrived at the spot. After discerning the situation, they immediately launched a rescue operation. Unfortunately, they were stopped by adverse weather conditions and the constantly rising water level in the flooded cave.

Fortunately, this time it was not necessary to organise a major international rescue operation. All because the situation was brought under control by divers from the Puen Pung Yamyak Foundation’s 17-member rescue team of the Thai Red Cross Society. They certainly made use of the experience gained in 2018.

Happy ending

Rescuers found a Buddhist monk trapped in a dry chamber about 400 metres from the entrance. To do so, they first had to negotiate a flooded corridor 12 metres long and with a maximum depth of 4 metres. They then equipped the monk with diving equipment and helped him to get out of the cave.

Thai media reported that the rescued man was slightly feverish and exhausted. Fortunately, he was otherwise uninjured. As a precaution, however, rescuers took him to hospital, where he underwent routine tests and remained for observation.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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