Thailand cave rescue: All 13 people saved in three-day mission
A regularly updated blog on rescue operations underway to save 12 Thai children and their soccer coach from a flooded cave complex in northern Thailand
Live updates with details of the latest news from Thailand and efforts to bring the five remaining boys and their coach out of the Tham Luang cave near Chiang Mai:
Day 3 – July 10, 2018
19:00 THA (UTC+7): The last of the kid and the coach are being taken to the hospital in Chiang Rai after a three-day long successful rescue operation that evacuated 12 boys and an adult from a flooded cave complex in Thailand.
18:50 THA (UTC+7): The remaining boy and the 25-year-old coach have been rescued from the Thailand cave, putting an end to the dangerous rescue mission, sources near the cave told Asia Times.
A group of 12 boys and an adult football coach were trapped inside the Tham Luang cave in Northern Thailand for over two weeks.
18:25 THA (UTC+7): Local media says the 10th and 11th boys, rescued a while ago, are being airlifted to the hospital.
UPDATE at 6:20pm: The 10th and 11th boys are at the helicopter field now. The 9th boy has already arrived in Chiang Rai.
— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) July 10, 2018
18:20 THA (UTC+7): “Tonight, all the ‘Wild Boars’ will be in united again!” the Thai navy seals have announced in a post on Facebook. The 12 boys and an adult coach who got trapped in the cave are part of a football team called ‘Wild Boars’. As many as 11 of them have been rescued.
17:50 THA (UTC+7): Ivan Karadzic, who was reportedly near a difficult stretch of the cave in the middle of the escape route, said the rescue team had feared for the worst. “We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic from the divers,” he told AFP, adding he was impressed by the boys’ staying calm.
“I cannot understand how cool these small kids are, you know? Thinking about how they’ve been kept in a small cave for two weeks, they haven’t seen their mums. Incredibly strong kids. Unbelievable almost.”
17:20 THA (UTC+7): Another person has been brought out by divers, taking the number of rescued to 11, as per Reuters. Two more remain trapped in the cave and the rescue team hopes to evacuate them within today.
16:40 THA (UTC+7): A tenth person has reportedly been carried out of the cave, according to reports by Reuters and Khao Sod. This has raised hope that the three remaining boys and their coach can be brought out in coming hours.
16:30 THA (UTC+7): A ninth person was seen being carried out of the cave on a stretcher, as per reports. Now, four more people remain to be rescued.
It’s been over two weeks since the 12 boys and their football coach got trapped in the Tham Luang cave as heavy rains inundated passages in the cave.
16:25 THA (UTC+7): Ivan Karadzic, an international diver with the rescue team at the Tham Luang cave, told BBC that he has never seen any youngster dive like this before.
16:20 THA (UTC+7): “We miss home”— comment by boys from the Wild Boars team after being rescued following over two weeks inside the cave, according to officials.
16:10 THA (UTC+7): An ambulance has been seen leaving the cave site, the Associated Press reported. But there’s still no confirmation of a ninth boy being rescued yet.
16:00 THA (UTC+7): US-based tech entrepreneur Elon Musk arrived in northern Thailand late on Monday to offer his ‘kid-size submarine’ to help in the rescue process. He said he will leave it in Thailand even if it’s not used this time, as the country may need it in future.
Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/EHNh8ydaTT
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
15:30 THA (UTC+7): The eight boys rescued over the last two days from the Tham Luang cave complex are healthy and mentally fit, medical officials told the media. The first four boys, rescued on July 8, have been allowed to see their parents through a glass panel. Rest of them are in quarantine in case they have an infection.
12:00 THA (UTC+7): The rescue operation coordinator Narongsak Osotthanakorn told the media the remaining five would be evacuated today.
10:08 THA (UTC+7): The third day of the rescue operation to bring out four remaining children and their football coach from a cave in Thailand’s far north kicked off again despite heavy rain overnight. The downpour, which inundated some parts of Mae Sai district, where the cave is located, could complicate the operation. But people have said the water level inside the cave had yet to rise much. Indeed, the rescue team seemed upbeat given the success of their work over the past two days.
Day 2 – July 9, 2018
20:10 THA (UTC+7): Phase two of rescue operation has ended after Thai and international divers brought out a further four kids from the Tham Luang cave – meaning a total of eight have now been extracted over two days. The remaining four boys and their football coach will be rescued tomorrow.
19:50 THA (UTC+7): An eighth boy has also been rescued. Four of them were brought out on Sunday in a nine-hour-long operation. Four more boys and the coach are yet to be rescued.
19:40 THA (UTC+7): The sixth and the seventh boys are believed to have been rescued as two ambulances were seen leaving the Tham Luang cave, according to Thai news agency MCOT.
19:00 THA (UTC+7): Two more boys have been rescued from the cave and sent for medical attention, local media have reported. Five boys and the 25-year-old soccer coach still remain trapped deep in the cave.
Army sources have confirmed rescuing six boys so far.
The assistant coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, spent a decade of his life as a Buddhist monk. He taught the boys to meditate, which many say has helped them to relax and stay alive in the cave so long. It was nine days before they were found. “Ek”, as the boys call him, is expected to be brought out at the end.
18:50 THA (UTC+7): Police and military personnel used umbrellas to cover a stretcher near a helicopter and an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Monday, as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave.
18:30 THA (UTC+7): The fifth boy has reportedly been admitted to the Chiang Rai hospital where the other kids have been taken. Officials opted to put them in quarantine and submit them to tests to check if they have caught any infections while inside the damp cave. No details have been revealed about who has come out so far. Eight more people remain to be rescued.
18:10 THA (UTC+7): Each boy is accompanied by two divers on their way out of the cave. The kids are provided with full-face diving masks and their oxygen cylinders are carried by one of the accompanying divers. There’s a steady cable running through the cave passageway to help guide the kids while diving. After they reach the third chamber of the cave, they should be able to walk to the entrance.
18:00 THA (UTC+7): The fifth boy, who is the first one rescued in today’s operation, has been taken on a stretcher to an ambulance that took him to an army helicopter, local media have said. He will soon be taken to the main hospital in Chiang Rai (about 60km away).
17:00 THA (UTC+7): The first boy has been brought out in today’s rescue mission, taking the number of saved boys to five, as per media reports. Seven more kids and their soccer coach are yet to be rescued.
The kids and their coach got trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Northern Thailand on June 23 after heavy rain flooded the passageways and entrance of the cave. Dozens of Thai and international divers are work to rescue the young footballers. They have to struggle through cold water and narrow passages in the dark, some of which are submerged, so it is extremely dangerous; one former Thai Navy diver has already lost his life during earlier efforts to rescue the boys.
16:15 THA (UTC+7): The cave has low oxygen levels and possible contact with animals pose the risk of diseases for the boys, health officials say. Those rescued will be closely monitored by doctors for up to a week and anyone who has come into contact with them will also be monitored, they said.
16:30 THA (UTC+7): The Thai and international divers need to place more air canisters than yesterday along the underwater route leading to the point where the boys and their coach are trapped, Interior minister Anupong Paojinda said today. This process is tedious and would take several hours to be completed.
16:00 THA (UTC+7): Thai officials say overnight rain did not change the water level in the cave where nine people are still trapped, the Associated Press reported. That’s good news for the rescuers who have been trying to pump water out from the cave.
15:40 THA (UTC+7): While some people took to social media to criticize the assistant coach “Ek” for taking the 12 boys to the cave, their resilience and strength of mind has been lauded by many more.
Let’s put the #ThaiCaveRescue in perspective:
1) The 12 boys were trapped without food, clean water, and sunlight for 10 days
2) They had to learn cave-diving 101 in 5 days
3) The underwater journey takes 3 grueling hours
This is the epitome of resilience.
— Zen Chang (@ZenChangLaw) July 8, 2018
15:30 THA (UTC+7): Narongsak Osotthanakorn, Chiang Rai Governor and coordinator of the cave rescue operation, told the media that the boys being rescued would be out by 20:00 hrs Thai time. But, he did not say how many of the remaining nine would be brought out today.
15:10 THA (UTC+7): Thai officials said parents of the four rescued boys have still not been allowed to meet their sons, according to the Associated Press.
14:40 THA (UTC+7): The rescue team of Thai Navy and international divers started today’s operation at 11am Thai time, officials said.
Restrictions have been put on the media for unknown reasons and media personnel were moved far away from the cave entrance today. Thai officials, including the police, army, ambulances, and helicopters, have been instructed to keep radio communications to a minimum as some media people have been listening to them. With hundreds of journalists now at the scene, the military government appears keen to ensure that they have space and some privacy to try to ensure the operation goes smoothly.
14:20 THA (UTC+7): US tech-entrepreneur Elon Musk has shared a video of his team testing a small ‘kid-sized submarine’ or a pod to help bring out the trapped kids through dangerous and narrow cave passages that are flooded. Each submarine is supposed to be carried by two divers and these are en route to Thailand.
The initial testing of the submarine was done at a swimming pool in a Los Angeles school.
Simulating maneuvering through a narrow passage pic.twitter.com/2z01Ut3vxJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
14:00 THA (UTC+7): The four boys who were rescued yesterday have not been identified yet and they are undergoing medical checks. Meanwhile, divers are yet to enter the Tham Luang cave to bring out the remaining nine people trapped there while the threat of another heavy downpour looms in northern Thailand.
13:40 THA (UTC+7): The deputy director of the Justice ministry has expressed concern about comments on social media about the assistant football coach who allegedly took 12 boys from his team to the cave. “I’m afraid he will misconstrue things and think of himself as the only source of blame. This could lead to depression and self-harm,” Thawatchai was quoted as saying by local media outlet Khao Sod.
However, the parents of the kids are not angry with the coach and only wish for him and the boys to return safely, it said.
12:00 THA (UTC+7): Mission has resumed to rescue the remaining eight boys and their coach who have been trapped in a cave for over two weeks in Northern Thailand.
The rescue team consists of Thai Navy SEAL and international volunteers; they evacuated four boys in a high-risk dive through flooded cave passages on Sunday.
Day 1 – July 8, 2018
22:00 THA (UTC+7): Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn held a press conference today and confirmed that four of the 12 boys have been rescued and they are admitted in hospital. The Thai Navy has finished the operation for today.
20:50 THA (UTC+7): United States President Donald Trump tweeted saying his government is working closely with Thailand on this rescue mission.
The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2018
20:30 THA (UTC+7): A former Thai navy diver, Saman Gunan, has earlier died in the flooded passageways of the cave while participating in the process of rescuing the 12 boys and their football coach. Gunan lost consciousness on his way out; his death demonstrated the dangers of getting 12 kids out through those narrow and flooded cave tunnels.
20:10 THA (UTC+7): Two ambulances are seen leaving the military airport in Chiang Rai to a nearby hospital after taking passengers, including some of the rescued boys, from a helicopter that arrived near the cave. Divers today evacuated six of the 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped at Tham Luang cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province.
19:45 THA (UTC+7): As many as six children out of the 12 are safe, as per Thai state media MCOT. The rest are to be rescued tomorrow.
19:30 THA (UTC+7): An ambulance and an escort vehicle leave the Tham Luang cave area as divers evacuated some of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province. An experienced group of divers today began the extremely dangerous operation to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped in a flooded cave complex in northern Thailand for over two weeks.
16:50 THA (UTC+7): The first two kids have been brought out of the cave successfully by the rescue team. They are being taken to the field hospital and will later be taken to the Chiang Rai hospital, as per a local official quoted by Reuters.
The boys and an adult were stuck 4 km inside the Tham Luang cave. With rising water levels and heavy rains, the rescue has to be sped up, as per officials.
16:00 THA (UTC+7): As per weather forecast, heavy rainfall is soon to hit Chiang Rai province, where rescue operations are on for 12 boys and their soccer coach stranded inside the Tham Luang cave.
The area will see the heaviest rainfall in between afternoon and evening hours, CNN reported. This is expected to further complicate the high-risk rescue operation.
15:30 THA (UTC+7): The 12 boys and their coach have to be brought out from the flooded cave in pairs, each accompanied by one diver from the rescue team, as per local media reports. The first pair may emerge at 21:00 THA (Thai Standard Time) today.
14:40 THA (UTC+7): The rescue operation of a young soccer team and their coach stranded in a flooded cave in Thailand started on Sunday morning. But the rescue mission may take two or three days before all of the stranded children are saved.
The 12 boys and their coach have to be rescued by divers who will dive through the cave’s narrow and twisting tunnels to reach them.
Rescue mission head Narongsak told reporters that today was “D-day” and that the first of the boys could emerge from the cave around 9 p.m. local time this evening.
11:00 THA (UTC+7): The Thai Navy SEAL team posted a picture on Facebook of holding hands as they commenced operations to rescue the stranded kids from the flooded cave complex. The SEAL team is working with an International team of rescuers to bring out the 13 people stuck in the cave. They signed off the Facebok post with ‘Hooyah’–the battle cry of Thai Navy.
10:00 THA (UTC+7): The operation started at 10:00 am local time today by a rescue team comprised of five Thai Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land team) and 13 international divers.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after their soccer practice on June 23 as they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in Northern Thailand.
The tunnels and passages leading to the inside of the cave were flooded due to heavy rain and 12 boys and their coach were stranded without food for nine days before being found.
The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, suggested earlier in the weekend that the boys were not ready to make the trip, but later on Saturday said there was a window of opportunity to try ahead of looming monsoon rains.
The rescue teams have been pumping out water so that at least some parts of the cave passages can be crossed on foot.
“Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are perfect (for evacuation) in terms of the water, the weather and the boys’ health,” Narongsak told reporters. “We’re still at war with water and time,” he told reporters.
Sustained heavy rains could make the water rise to the shelf where the children are sitting, reducing the area to “less than 10 square meters”, he added, citing estimates from cave divers and experts.
US technology tycoon Elon Musk said on Twitter that his team is working on a ‘tiny, kid-size submarine’ to carry the boys out of the caves.
He said it would take eight hours to produce and 17 hours to transport to Thailand, though it was not clear if the Thai rescue team would use it.
The boys reportedly do not know how to dive and reports have suggested they are weak swimmers. Musk’s small submarines will reportedly be light enough for two divers to carry.