Thai rescue unit frees Buddhist monk trapped in flooded cave

Thai rescue workers taking the blood pressure of the monk after he was found in the cave, on April 7, 2021.
Thai rescue workers taking the blood pressure of the monk after he was found in the cave, on April 7, 2021.PHOTO: THAILAND RESCUE DIVER 2/FACEBOOK
An unseasonal rainstorm flooded parts of the cave in Thailand's Phitsanulok province while the monk was inside.
An unseasonal rainstorm flooded parts of the cave in Thailand's Phitsanulok province while the monk was inside.PHOTO: THAILAND RESCUE DIVER 2/FACEBOOK
Rescue workers in the Phra Sai Ngam cave during the operation to save the monk, in Noen Maprang, Thailand, on April 6, 2021.
Rescue workers in the Phra Sai Ngam cave during the operation to save the monk, in Noen Maprang, Thailand, on April 6, 2021.PHOTO: THAILAND RESCUE DIVER/REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai rescue workers said on Wednesday (April 7) that they had freed a Buddhist monk trapped inside a flooded cave in Thailand's Phitsanulok province after he went inside days ago to meditate.

The monk, identified by a local rescue unit as 46-year-old Phra Ajarn Manas, was on a pilgrimage from another province and had gone into the Phra Sai Ngam cave on Saturday.

An unseasonal rainstorm that struck on Sunday and continued till Tuesday flooded parts of the cave while he was inside, the local rescue unit said on its Facebook page.

It said residents in the area told the unit on Tuesday afternoon that the monk was trapped in the cave.

Rescue workers went in looking for him but had to call off the operation after about an hour due to rising water levels.

Pictures on the unit's Facebook page show 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 in a post.

One of the rescue workers confirmed in a phone call that the monk was out of the cave and was getting first aid.

Seventeen divers participated in the rescue effort.

Thailand made global headlines in 2018 with the high-profile rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in the northern town of Chiang Rai.