A member of the diving team that helped to rescue 12 soccer players form a flooded
Authorities have launched a rescue operation in Jackson County to save the man, now identified to be Bill Whitehouse, from the cave’s depths.
Whitehouse is a member of a dive team from the United Kingdom who had been conducting a series of dives inside the submerged cavity for the last few days,
He was reported missing late on Tuesday night after the group surfaced from a dive and Whitehouse was nowhere to be seen.
A rescue operation is underway to save Bill Whitehouse from a Tennessee cave after he was reported missing on Tuesday night
Whitehouse was among a group of divers from the United Kingdom, said to be exploring the cave in Jackson County for the last few days
Authorities were contacted by the group shortly after the conducted their own search of the cavern but failed to find any trace of him.
Specialty divers have been summoned to the area to assist the rescue mission and will likely plunge beneath the surface as early as Wednesday evening, Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Services confirmed.
According to first responders, the cave contains an ‘air bell’ with enough oxygen to last at least 24 hours. They hope Whitehouse’s extensive diving experience means he is waiting in that part of the cave to be rescued.
The route to him, rescuers say, is around 400 feet long and 40 feet beneath the surface, with limited visibility. It could take as long as 40 minutes to reach the stranded diver.
He was reported missing after the group resurfaced on Tuesday night and found Whitehouse unaccounted for
Specialty divers have been summoned to the area to assist the rescue mission and will likely plunge beneath the surface as early as Wednesday evening
Whitehouse, who has been a member of a British Cave Rescue Organisation since 1964, was credited among a group of elite international divers involved in the intense operation of 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach in June 2018.
The group entered the cave during low tide, but excessive flooding soon blocked their exit and they were forced to retreat deeper into the cave.
Heavy rains then exacerbated the water levels and rescuers found themselves in a race against time to save the group’s lives.
Following a three-week ordeal, divers eventually found the group – hungry, but alive – huddled on a dry patch of land deep into the cave.
One of the elite divers drowned during the rescue mission.