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          Meditating Monk Trapped in Flooded Cave Freed by Thai Rescue Divers

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          The monk was fitted with scuba gear and swum out of the cave (Photo: PBS News)

          In a tale reminiscent of the extraordinary 2018 rescue of the stranded Thai youth football team, Thai divers have rescued a monk from the Phra Sai Ngam cave in Phitsanulok, lower northern Thailand.

          46-year-old Phra Ajarn Manas, a Buddhist monk on a pilgrimage from another province in Thailand, entered the cave on Saturday, 3 April to meditate, but became trapped by a flash flood after unexpected heavy rainfall on the Sunday. Local villagers alerted the authorities on Tuesday after Phra Manas failed to return from the cave following the rains.

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          Phra Manas after walking free from the cave (Photo: PBS News)

          A total of seventeen volunteer divers from the Prasatbunyasathan foundation rescue team, plus police and other officials were involved in the rescue operation. They initially entered the cave system to search for the monk on Tuesday afternoon, but had to withdraw after rising floodwaters impeded their progress.

          The monk was located early on Wednesday morning, with the team officially announcing his rescue at 11:30 am. Phra Manas was said to be suffering from exhaustion but walked free from the cave and was taken to hospital for routine checks.

          The Phra Sai Ngam cave is approximately 400km south of the Chiang Rai cave system where, in 2018, 12 Thai youth footballers and their coach were trapped for nineteen days before being rescued.


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