Emergency rescue personnel will continue their search Wednesday night for a missing British cave diver in Jackson County.
Derek Woolbright is the Jackson County EMA public information officer. He said the man went missing just off Flynns Creek Road.
“A group of five went into the cave, and when they came back out they realized they were missing an individual,” Woolbright said. “That was about 3 p.m. (Tuesday). They made several attempts after that to try and go back and find the missing individual, and that took them several hours.”
Woolbright said officials were first notified around 1 a.m. Wednesday evening.
Hamilton County rescue personnel were called to help assist with locating and rescuing the missing diver.
Hamilton County Rescue Lt. Brian Krebs said specialized divers are being called in from Arkansas and Florida to assist in the mission.
“Right now our divers are being flown in from the Nashville airport by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Hopefully we’ll have them on site shortly,” Krebs said. “We’ll need about an hours worth of preparation, maybe an hour and a half.”
Officials said the diver’s team members describe him as both physically and mentally capable of surviving in the cave for an extended period of time.
Krebs said officials will monitor the weather in case the situation changes.
“We have weather concerns here. If we have any weather moving in, we’re going to be concerned about that as water levels come up or go down inside the cave,” Krebs said. “We’re working as quickly as possible to get him evacuated.”
Krebs said it’s likely the diver may have found an air pocket within the cave after being disconnected from his team Tuesday.
County Mayor Randy Heady and Jackson County EMA Director Keith Bean, who were both at the press conference, said the diver’s identity won’t be released at this time at the request of the family.