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[00:00:00]

In July 2018, 22 youth soccer players and their coach found themselves trapped six miles deep in a cave with no food or water and depleting oxygen, and then the rocky maze became almost completely submerged as water rose to levels nearly impossible for survival. There was no light, no way to communicate and no hope. Their only chance of making it out alive was in the hands of worldclass cave diver Rick Stanton. With the whole world watching Rick in, his dive partner John were immediately faced with the challenge of their lifetime.

[00:00:32]

Find the boys and get them out alive. The first season of Wonderings new original series Against the Odds, takes you into the incredible events of when an adventurous group of teens found themselves fighting for their lives and the brave heroes that gave them their only chance at survival. You're about to hear a preview of Against the Odds. While you're listening, subscribe to Against the Odds on Apple podcasts, Spotify or listen early and at free in the Wandering app on.

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It's late afternoon on Monday, July 2nd, twenty eighteen, and Rick Stanton is swimming through a submerged hell scape, is fifty seven years old and his tall, lanky body moves through the water smoothly, the glow from his headlamp illuminating the jagged walls of a narrow rock tunnel in front of him. Under different circumstances, Rick might be enjoying himself. Right now, he's one of the best cave divers in the planet, after all. And this tunnel is exactly the kind of underwater maze Rick loves to explore.

[00:01:40]

But this isn't an adventure. It's a rescue mission. Nine days ago, a boys soccer team disappeared down here. Rick has to find them and get them out if they're still alive. Rick pauses and Texas Levels is running low and needs at least a third of a tank to make it back to base. But he senses an area of the cave, perhaps not completely flooded. Just ahead, if they're going to find anyone alive down here, it will be in an air pocket just like that one.

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So he gestures to his dive partner, John Valentin. Rick's been diving with Jon since the early days, they met as members of their English cave diving club and set a world record for deepest cave dive in England. By day, John is an I.T. consultant who makes his own diving equipment. But in his other life, he's a superstar and one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Rick motions with his flashlight and swims ahead and emerging from the inky water into a dark chamber when he reaches the center.

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He lifts off his mask and he inhales. You smell that, John? I sure do. Rick and John have come across some pretty unusual odors in their adventures. But this smells like shit, like human waste. Someone is here. Rick pulls out a flashlight and scans around razor-sharp, stalactites stripped down from the ceiling. Oh, hello, bounces off the cave walls, nothing, but then something glints in the beam of his roving flashlight, a pair of frightened eyes staring back at him.

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You can't believe it. They're in the shadows a few feet in front of him, shivering. Yet alive is a child. Hello, the child says in a trembling voice. Then, one by one, more silhouettes emerge from the dark. How?

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How many of your birthday? Rick looks back at John, my God. We found them, we found all of them. For the past nine days, the whole world has been hoping and praying and holding their breath, waiting to see if these missing boys could be safe. And now here they are. But before Rick and celebrate, it hits him locating the wild boar soccer team was only half the mission. Now they're going to have to figure out how to cross a cave six miles long underwater.

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And get them all out alive. From laundry, I'm Mike Correy, and this is against the odds. Human beings are incredibly resilient in the toughest moments, we fight, we struggle, and we survive often against all odds. For the past 10 years, I've traveled to over 70 countries. I've wandered the depths of the Amazon rainforest cave, dived in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. I've summited the highest mountain in Africa and I've eaten a few bugs along the way.

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But while I've done some crazy things, nothing I face and compare to the stories that the survivors have gone through. For our first series, we're immersing ourselves in the incredible story of the Tom Lange cave rescue. Imagine what would you do if you were trapped in total darkness six miles inside a flooded cave? Would you be able to survive the isolation, the slow drip of dread? That's the situation. 12 young soccer players and their coach found themselves in the summer of twenty eighteen when the boys went exploring a system of caves after practice.

[00:05:58]

One day, their story made headlines around the world and brought skilled divers from across the globe who risked their lives to execute a daring rescue heralded as one of the most successful in history. What most people don't realize is what it took over the next four episodes. I'm going to tell you how an elite team of cave rescue divers, military specialists and countless regular people achieved the impossible. This is episode one lost. Join 100 plus to listen to against the odds one week early and add free in the one free app, download the wandering app in your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today.