A Buddhist monk on a spiritual pilgrimage in a cave got a lot more than he bargained for when, without warning, the cave filled with water courtesy of an unseasonal rainstorm.
The monk was left trapped inside the flooded cave in Thailand’s Phitsanulok province for several days as a crew of some 17 rescue divers attempted to wrest him free from the rising floodwaters.
The man, identified by media as 46-year-old Phra Ajarn Manas, had undertaken a pilgrimage from a neighboring province and entered Phra Sai Ngam cave in Phitsanulok on Saturday.
A rainstorm struck without warning on Sunday and didn’t relent until Tuesday, flooding several sections of the cave with the monk still trapped inside. Residents in the area raised the alarm, alerting a team of rescue divers on Tuesday afternoon.
Rescuers tried in vain to free the man but had to call off their operation after just 60 minutes due to rising water levels in the cavern. The next day, however, they achieved a breakthrough and successfully extracted the monk.
“At 11:30 a.m.(0230 GMT) we successfully rescued Phra Manas out of the cave,” the unit said in a social media post.
He was given first aid at the scene and appeared to be in good health, though it remains unclear whether the impending doom from the floodwaters interrupted his intense meditation or contributed to it.
The incident occurred almost three years after a group of 12 boys became trapped in a cave in Thailand, sparking international media interest and a notorious spat between billionaire Elon Musk and rescuers.
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