Thai rescue workers have freed a meditating Buddhist monk who was trapped inside a flooded cave for four days .
The monk, identified by rescuers as 46-year-old Phra Ajarn Manas, was on a pilgrimage from another province and had gone into the Phra Sai Ngam cave in Phitsanulok on Saturday to meditate.
An unseasonal rainstorm struck on Sunday and continued through to Tuesday, flooding parts of the cave while he was inside, the local rescue unit said on its Facebook page.
Seventeen divers participated in the effort to find and free the monk from the spot, which could be accessed only by divers. A video posted by rescuers shows the monk fitted with a diving mask making a 12-metre swim underwater.
The unit said local residents told them the monk was still trapped inside the cave on Tuesday afternoon. They went in looking for him but had to call off the operation after about an hour due to rising water levels. They were concerned he may be “exhausted or unconscious because of not having food at all”.
Pictures on the unit’s Facebook page showed the monk on Wednesday sitting inside the cave surrounded by rescue workers and having his blood pressure taken. “At 11.30am we successfully rescued Phra Manas out of the cave,” the unit said.
One of the rescue workers confirmed in a phone call that the monk was out of the cave and receiving first aid.
Thailand made global headlines in 2018 with the high-profile rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in the northern town of Chiang Rai.