Thailand cave rescue operation: All the latest updates

Rescue operation ends as 12 members and coach of youth football team are taken out of northern Thailand cave.

    Here are all the latest updates:

    Congratulations pour in from across the world

    • The 12 boys and their coach have all been transported to a hospital.
    • Following everyone's safe return, congratulations have started to come in from across the world.
    • The Thai Navy SEALS who stayed in the cave with the boys for the last few days have made it out safely as well, a post on their Facebook confirmed.

    • Among the people congratulating the team on their safe return were US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who both posted on their Twitter account they were happy with the news all people made it out safely.
    • World football assosciation FIFA originally wanted to invite the boys and their coach to attend the World Cup final on Sunday, but that plan has been abandoned because the kids' doctors think they are not strong enough yet.
    • English football club Manchester United has invited the boys for a visit to their stadium, they wrote on Twitter.

    Thai navy SEALs confirm successful end of rescue operation

    • All 12 boys and their football coach have been rescued from a Thai cave after an 18 day ordeal, the Thai Navy SEALs said in a Facebook post, adding they were "safe".
    • "All 12 'Wild Boars' and coach have been extracted from the cave," the post said, adding "all are safe" and signing off with a simple "Hooyah".
    • Four divers who stayed with the group were still to emerge, it added.

    All of the boys and their coach are reportedly out

    • Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen: "Sources telling Aljazeera the whole football team including coach and 3 navy seals and doctor have emerged from the cave!"

    • According to AP, three ambulances, their lights flashing, have been seen leaving the site of the flooded Thai cave where rescuers are involved in an all-out effort to rescue members of a youth soccer team and their coach trapped deep within.

    How the boys are retrieved

    • AJ has made this short animation explaining how divers are retrieving the 12 boys and their coach.

    Thai navy SEALs confirm ninth boy out

    The Thai Navy SEALs have posted on their Facebook that the ninth boy exited the cave at 16:06 local time (09:06 GMT). 

    Eleventh boy out of cave: Al Jazeera

    Tenth boy rescued: Al Jazeera

    • Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen is reporting that a tenth boy has emerged from the Tham Luang cave complex. 

    • Reuters also reported a tenth person had been seen carried out on a stretcher, citing a witness.

    Ninth person seen carried out on a stretcher: Reuters

    • A ninth person has been seen carried out of the cave on a stretcher, a witness has told Reuters news agency. 

    • CNN also reports a ninth boy has been rescued, citing a Thai Navy official with direct knowledge of operational details. 

    • Four boys and their 25-year-old coach are expected to all emerge from the cave today.

    'Whole group reached Chamber three': Step Vaessen

    • Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen has reported all four boys and their coach have reached chamber three of the Tham Luang cave complex where rescue workers have set up a medical post. 

    • "They seem to have passed this whole dangerous tricky part and now are in chamber three," Vaessen said. 

    Rescuers to extract remaining five today: official

    • The third rescue operation is currently underway, rescue mission Chief Narongsak Osottanakorn has told a news conference.

    • The operation began this morning at 10:08 local time (03:08 GMT), he said.

    • Rescuers aim to extract all remaining four boys, the youngest of whom is 11 years old, as well as their 25-year-old coach on Tuesday.

    • "All five will be brought out at the same time today," Osottanakorn said as attending reporters and rescue workers cheered. 

    • A doctor and three Thai Navy SEALs who have been staying with the group will also leave the cave today. 

    • A post on the SEALs Facebook account said today's operation would take longer than Monday's. 

    Families visit first four boys in hospital

    • The first four boys who were rescued on Sunday were visited by their families on Monday night, though they were kept separated by a glass window over infection fears.

    • On Tuesday morning, Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry Jesada Chokedamrongsuk told reporters all eight boys are "in good health", with no fever and "in a good mental state".

    • Two of the four boys who were rescued on Sunday were given antibiotics after showing signs of pneumonia.

    • All four boys from the first rescued group can now eat normal foods, though nothing spicy, he said. 

    • The boys will be kept in hospital for observation for one week. 

    • "[The boys] are all very very hungry, they're asking for all kinds of food," Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Chiang Raid, said. 
    • "They basically blindfolded them when they took them out of the cave to make sure that their eyes would slowly adjust to the light again after they have been in the dark for so long ... the doctors have now said that their eyes are all fine," Vaessen said.

    A health official on Tuesday said the eight rescued boys are in 'high spirits' [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

    Ambulances arrive at Thai cave sit amid rain

    • Three ambulances along with cars, hummers and soldiers have been seen entering the cave site where eight boys have been rescued since Sunday, AP news agency reported.

    • Officials on Monday said the high-stakes rescue operation would continue for a third day on Tuesday. 

    • Four more boys and their 25-year-old coach are still stuck in the Tham Luang cave complex, having been trapped by floodwaters for more than two weeks.

    • On Monday, Regional Army Commander Major-General Bancha Duriyapan called on the rain god Phra Pirun to "keep showing us mercy", but heavy rains hit the region late on Monday and continued on Tuesday, potentially complicating the operation.

    Rescue operation has ended for today

    • A total of four boys have been taken to safety on Monday. Four boys and their coach still remain in the cave.

    • Meanwhile, the official heading the rescue operation said Pime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has gone to see all eight of the rescued boys.

    • The Thai Navy SEALs once again confirmed the rescue of the boys on their Facebook page, ending their post with their fighting cheer "hooyah".

    Relief for father as son is brought to safety

    • Adisak Wongsukchan's son has been trapped in the cave for more than a week. During that time the father spent praying hoping to receive good news. That came on the second day of the rescue operation.
    • Nong Bew was among the four boys rescued on Monday.
    • “My wife and I are very happy. This is a very meaningful day for us.” he told Al Jazeera.
    • Wongsukchan said he will remain at the rescue operation site until the remaining boys and their coach are brought to safety.
    Nong Bew was rescued from the Tham Luang cave to the relief of his father Adisak Wongsukchan [Adisak Wongsukchan/Al Jazeera]

    Sixth, seventh and eighth boy rescued from cave, eyewitnesses say

    • Three boys were seen being carried from the cave on stretchers, a witness told the Reuters news agency.
    • With the three latest rescues, just five more members of the youth football team are trapped inside the cave. 

    • Rescue operations have been paused for Monday. Rescue divers will continue their mission on Tuesday.
    An ambulance carrying one of the rescued boys travels to a hospital from a military airport in Chiang Rai on July 9 [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

    Sixth boy about to come out, sources tell Al Jazeera

    • Sources have told Al Jazeera one boy has left the cave and is now in the field hospital near the entrance, while another boy is in the mouth of the cave and is about to come out. 

    • "Two others are still a little further away," Step Vaessen reported from Chiang Rai.

    • The rescues have not been officially confirmed yet.

    • "It sounds like a very speedy recovery ... It's only five hours after [divers] got in that this first boy has emerged," Vaessen said. 

    • The amount of time it takes professional divers to make a round trip to the muddy ledge where the boys have been based was previously said to be 11 hours. On Sunday, the first boys came out more than seven hours after elite divers went in. 

    Fifth boy rescued: Thai navy official through Reuters

    • A fifth boy has been rescued from the Tham Luang cave according to a Royal Thai Navy official, Reuters news agency has reported. 

    • AP news agency reported an ambulance with flashing lights was seen leaving the cave complex.

    Person seen carried out of cave on stretcher: Reuters

    • Rescue workers in Thailand were seen carrying a person on a stretcher away from a cave complex and into a waiting ambulance, a Reuters witness has said. 

    • Divers re-entered the Tham Luang cave complex to extract the remaining nine members of the Wild Boar football team at 11am local time (04:00 GMT), nearly six hours ago.

    Hope for 'good news in hours ahead': chief of mission

    • The second phase of the rescue mission got underway at 11am local time (04:00 GMT), Thai officials have told a press briefing. 

    • Chief of mission Narongsak Osottanakorn said he hoped for "good news in the hours ahead". 

    • The Chiang Rai governor said rain overnight had not changed water levels in the cave where the boys are trapped.

    Narongsak Osottanakorn said he was hopeful for good news in the coming hours [Tyrone Siu/Reuters] 

    Four rescued boys hungry but in good health

    • Thai authorities have said the four boys who were rescued on Sunday are hungry but in good health. 

    • The boys are being kept apart from their family for the time being over infection concerns, the chief of mission told a press briefing. 

    • Narongsak Osottanakorn added that doctors would decide on family visits "at a distance or through glass".

    • Reporting from Chiang Rai, Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen said that one of the diseases which has been mentioned as something the boys need to be cleared of is leptospirosis, a potentially fatal disease that can be contracted by drinking contaminated water.

    Rescue operation resumed: officials

    • The rescue operation to extract the eight boys and their coach from the cave has resumed, officials have told Reuters news agency. 

    • A Thai Navy officer also told CNN divers had re-entered the cave. "The operation has begun and it is ongoing at the moment," CNN quoted the officer as saying. 

    • At least five ambulances have made their way to the cave entrance, a CNN reporter said on Twitter. 

    Thai cave rescue operation: the story so far

    • Before updates on today's resumption of the rescue operation start coming in, here's an overview of what happened on Sunday.


    Rescued boys strong and safe: interior minister

    • The boys rescued from the cave on Sunday are strong and safe but need more medical checks, Thailand's interior minister said on Monday morning.

    • Anupong Paojinda said the same divers who participated in Sunday's rescue would carry out the next part of the operation, AP news agency reported. 

    • He said officials were meeting Monday morning about the next stage of the mission and that divers need to place more air canister along the route, which can take several hours.

    A security officer walks out of the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital where those who were rescued from the flooded cave are being treated [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

    For parents, agonising wait continues

    • The four who were rescued on Sunday have not been named yet, with even the parents reportedly not being informed. 

    • "I am still waiting here at the cave, keeping my fingers crossed to see whether my son will be one of those to come out today," Akkarat Wongsukjan, the mother of one of the boys, told AFP news agency on Monday morning. 

    • "We heard four boys are out but we do not know who they are. Many parents are still here waiting. None of us has been informed of anything."

    Schoolmates pray next to a banner showing the team who were trapped at Mae Sai Prasitsart school on Monday morning [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]


    Classmates react after a teacher announces that some of the boys have been rescued at Mae Sai Prasitsart school [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

    Rains ahead of second day of rescue operation

    • Rescuers are poised to resume their operation to extract the remaining nine members of the Wild Boars football team out of the Tham Luang cave complex on Monday. 

    • There has been rain overnight, which could complicate the operation if water levels inside the cave have risen. 

    • Rescuers have been working to replenish air supplies inside the cave. 

    • On Twitter, people have shared cartoons expressing their hope for the nine remaining in the cave.

    11-hour round trip 

    • It takes approximately 11 hours to get to and from the chamber, where the remaining eight boys are trapped along with their coach.

    • The path, which was used to rescue four boys on Sunday, is a difficult one to navigate. To exit the cave, the remaining boys, who are likely malnutritioned, are expected to dive a narrow passage, which is 0.6m deep.


    Day 'we have all been waiting for'

    • Sunday was the day "we have all been waiting for", Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said at a press conference on Sunday after four boys were saved during the first phase of a rescue operation

    • "I would like to inform everyone at home and all those who have been giving us support all along, that after 16 days, today is the day we have been waiting for," he said.

    • "We are seeing the Wild Boars football team in the flesh now."

    Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn talks to journalist near Tham Luang cave complex [Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

    Everyone 'amazingly happy' 

    • While initial reactions in Chiang Rai have been positive in response to the first phase of the rescue operation, with most people "amazingly happy" about the four boys rescued so far, Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler said families were still concerned.

    • "We've been speaking to families up in that cave site … they want to know if that's their son," he said, referencing the rescued boys. 

    • The youth football team and their coach have been surviving on "chips and water", Heidler said, according to a woman who sold them snacks before they headed to the cave complex.

    • Heidler noted the team had previously visited the site multiple times as part of their team building exercises. The flooding of the cave has been attributed to monsoon rains.

    A family member walks outside the Tham Luang cave complex after Thailand's government instructed members of the media to move out urgently [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

    Four boys 'transported to hospital'

    • The four boys have been transported to a hospital in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, about 60km away, witnesses told Reuters news agency.

    • Some 90 divers are involved in the rescue operation - 50 are foreign and 40 are Thai, the head of the rescue operation said. 

    Governor: Next operation to start in 10-20 hours

    • Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said Sunday's rescue mission has come to an end and the next one is to begin 10-20 hours later, depending on weather conditions. 

    • Only four boys have come out of the flooded cave on Sunday, Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reported, following earlier confusion where reports of another two had been recovered, emerged. That was inaccurate, Heidler clarified.

    • Heidler noted it appeared as though the four boys had been rescued in pairs, as each two were escorted out of the Tham Luang cave complex only minutes apart. 

    Relatives and friends pray for the boys and their soccer coach tapped inside a flooded cave, at Mesai Grace Church in the northern province of Chiang Rai [Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

    Boys will require immediate support: Psychiatry expert

    • Doctor Andrea Danese, a Psychiatry lecturer at King's College in London, told Al Jazeera that he expects most of the children to present emotional symptoms.

    • "Several of them may be agitated, they may be irritable. They may be also acting out in terms of trying to deal with their emotions," he said. 

    • According to Danese, 10-20 percent of the children may develop long-term mental health issues, such as "depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder … and in the older ones particularly perhaps substance abuse". 

    • He also said that physical health issues may also occur due to malnutrition and high levels of stress. 

    Thai Navy SEALs say four boys exit cave

    • In a Facebook post, the Thai Navy SEALs have said four members of the youth football team had exited the cave as of 7:47pm (12:47 GMT) 

    Six boys have exited cave: official through Reuters

    • A senior member of the rescue medical team has told the Reuters news agency that six boys have now exited the cave.

    • Twelve members of a youth football team, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach have been stuck inside the Tham Luang cave for more than two weeks. 

    A military helicopter believed to be carrying rescued schoolboys takes off near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai [Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

    Four boys reach rescue camp: official to AFP

    • An official has told AFP news agency four boys from the Wild Boars football team have reached the rescue camp inside the Tham Luang cave complex.

    • The rescue base camp has been set up in chamber three, situated about two kilometres into the cave. 

    • A BBC reporter on the scene has seen a total of four ambulances heading towards the cave. 

    Three boys out: Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler

    • Three boys have made their way out of the cave according to a military source, Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler has reported.

    • Thailand's interior minister is reportedly on the way to the field hospital, where the three boys are being assessed, Heidler said. 

    • Two ambulances were seen leaving Tham Luang and one helicopter was heard taking off. Helicopters have been waiting to take the members of the football team to Chiang Rai's state capital where the boys and their coach will be treated in hospital. 

    First two members of team recovered: local official through Reuters

    • The first two members of the football team have been recovered from the Tham Luang cave complex, a local official has told Reuters news agency. 

    • "Two kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave," Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai's health department and part of the rescue team, said. 

    • "We are giving them a physical examination. They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet."

    • The report has not been confirmed by authorities. 

    Inside the Tham Luang cave complex

    • Here's a more detailed look inside the Tham Luang cave complex, where the football team and their coach became trapped on June 23. 


    Governor: 'Unknown' when first boys will emerge

    • It is "unknown how long it will take before [rescuers] can bring out the first batch of boys," Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn has said. 

    • In a press release containing an update on the rescue mission, which has now been under way for more than eight hours, Osottanakorn said "divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys' health before determining who will come out first". 

    • "They cannot decide how many of them will be able to come out for the first operation. Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave," the statement said. 

    Rescue in groups

    • More than seven hours into the operation, the first boys are now expected to be making their way out of the cave complex. 

    • Bangkok Post reported that a source had told them the football team and their coach would be rescued in four batches: one of four and three of three people. 

    • Rescue authorities said the coach will be the last to be brought out, Bangkok Post reported. 

    • There have not been official updates on the operation. 

    Rescue operation in pictures

    Journalists and non-essential staff are ordered to leave the cave site and surrounding roads at the start of the rescue operation on Sunday [Linh Pham/Getty Images]

    A truck carrying oxygen tanks arrives outside the cave complex on Sunday [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]
    Ambulances are seen outside the Tham Luang cave complex after media have been ordered out [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]
    Nurses stand outside the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, where the boys will be brought after their rescue, on Sunday [Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images]

    PM to visit on Monday

    • Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha plans to visit the cave site on Monday, according to a government spokesman. 

    • "For the people who are currently bringing the 13 ... out of the Tham Luang cave, he wishes safety and success," government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said. 

    • Some Thais were critical of an earlier visit by Prayuth to the cave, which they considered to be opportunistic, Reuters news agency reported. His government has recently faced pro-democracy protests in the capital, Bangkok. 

    Tham Luang cave complex

    • The Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province is 10km long. 

    • The boys and their coach are trapped kilometres deep inside and will have to make their way out through passages, some of which are fully submerged. 

    • Last week, rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said the "biggest crisis spot" for diving is a tiny passageway near the Sam Yak junction. 

    • "There is a tunnel that has a passageway going up and coming down narrowly and you have to turn a bit and it's very small," Osottanakorn said on July 2.


    Rescue operation 'still a huge risk': cave expert

    • Anmar Mirza, cave expert and US National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, told Al Jazeera that the boys' weakness due to nine days of starvation makes the rescue operation very risky. 

    • "It takes a long time to recover and they have simply not had that time. I'm hoping that they have drilled well enough that there aren't any problems but it's still a huge risk," he said. 

    • "The divers have built a level of trust with the boys and that's part of the psychology of getting them out. In most of the places the diver can be right next to them. There are those few spots where they cannot be side by side, but again they can communicate with them by the fact that they're just right close there. So, with luck, that keeps them calm."

    'Please bring me pork' 

    On Saturday, the Thai Navy SEALs posted notes from the football team on their Facebook page.

    Thai Navy SEALs vow to bring football team home

    • In a Facebook post posted just after 11:00am (4:00 GMT), the Thai Navy SEALs vow to bring the Wild Boars youth football team home.

    • "We, the Thai team and the international team will bring the Wild Boars home," the post reads. 

    Keeping 'panic element' out essential: dive expert

    • Preventing the boys from panicking during their rescue is of the essence, New Zealand Diving's Neil Bennett told Al Jazeera.

    • "The training up to this point would be really focused on trying to keep them calm, explaining that they're going to be in poor visibility. Explaining that they have to keep the air supply in their mouth. It's really about dealing with the situation they're facing rather than trying to install perfect dive skills. That's never going to happen in this situation," he said.

    • "In a normal situation you would have experienced professionals that might need rescue, not someone who's a complete novice who's never been in the water before, let alone who can't swim.

    • "So the real factor is trying to keep that panic element out of the way because that's where all the dangers come - as soon as someone panics then all sorts of problems come for the rescuers because a panicked diver can actually be a danger to the rescuer as much as themselves."

    Rescue operation begins

    • Diving teams and medical personnel entered the cave at 10:00 local time (03:00 GMT), rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters on Sunday. 

    • Thirteen foreign and five Thai Navy SEAL divers are taking part in the rescue mission, which could take two to four days. Each boy will be accompanied by two divers on their way out.

    • It will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued, meaning the first member of the team could come out at 21:00 (14:00 GMT) at the earliest. 

    • Read more about the start of the rescue operation. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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