Thailand cave rescue updates: Official says four boys saved, operations to resume in 10-20 hours

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Thailand cave rescue updates: Official says four boys saved, operations to resume in 10-20 hours
  • 19:45 (IST)

    Rescue operations come to an end for the day

    Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn is holding a press conference saying the rescue operations come to an end for the day. Osottanakorn says he has met the children and that their health is “perfect”. He called Sunday’s conditions as the “best situation”. Around 50 foreign divers and 40 Thai divers are currently involved in the rescue operation. Thai official heading the cave rescue says the next phase of the operation to start in 10-20 hours, The Associated Press reported. 

  • 19:26 (IST)

    Thai policemen guard the cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped

    Image courtesy: AP

  • 19:03 (IST)

    Entire operation could take days: Governor

    However, the operation may not end any time soon. CNN reports quotes the local governor as saying that the entire rescue operation could take days.

  • 18:56 (IST)

    Four children come out of cave

    The Thai Navy SEAL's official Facebook page has said that four children have now stepped out of the cave.

  • 18:52 (IST)

    Donald Trump says US working with Thailand on cave rescue

  • 18:31 (IST)

    Weakest boys were brought out first

    Bangkok-based journalist Florian Witulski tweeted about how authorities decided to bring out the weakest boys first.

  • 18:26 (IST)

    Ambulances carrying rescued boys to the hospital

  • 18:15 (IST)

    Water levels have reduced in cave making rescue operations less time-consuming

    Reports suggest the water level inside the cave have reduced considerably, thus making the rescue operation less time-consuming. Much of the chambers inside the long stretch of the cave was made walkable by the reduced water levels, News 18 said.

  • 17:40 (IST)

    Two kids rescued, undergoing physical examination: Thai official

    According to the BBC, Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai's health department and part of the rescue team, says: "Two kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave." The boys are undergoing physical examination and have not yet been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet.

  • 17:23 (IST)

    Unconfirmed reports say two boys were rescued 

    Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say two boys were rescued.

  • 16:47 (IST)

    Not known when the first boys can be rescued: Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn

    Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is overseeing the rescue operation in Thailand’s Tham Luang Cave, has just issued a statement expressing uncertainty over the timing of the operation meeting any success.

    The statement said: Because of the complexity of the cave and difficulty of the operation, it is unknown how long it will take before the team can bring out the first batch of boys. The 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.

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Thai news agency graphic illustrates the ordeal the Thai boys will have to undertake along with the rescuers

  • 16:23 (IST)

    More than 100 chimneys were drilled into the mountainside to reach the team
     
     
    More than 100 chimneys are being drilled into the mountainside in a frantic bid to reach a Thai youth football team trapped in a cave complex below, the head of the rescue mission said on Saturday. The unprecedented rescue effort is attempting to establish new ways to extract the boys from above, if the underground chambers flood and it is deemed too risky to evacuate the team by diving out through the submerged passageways. "Some (of the chimneys) are as deep as 400 metres... but they still cannot find their location yet," Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the mission lacked the technology "to pinpoint where they are staying".

  • 15:51 (IST)

    Best of best can lose lives in cave diving: Rescue diver

    According to CNN, a rescue diver and president and founder of Lifeguard Systems Butch Hendrick mentioned how dangerous cave diving can be. He said because of "the narrow passageways ... and no visibility" the best of best can lose their lives. 

  • 15:45 (IST)

    Hollywood actor Michael Raymond James expresses his support for the trapped boys

  • 15:42 (IST)

    The first group of boys are expected to be on their way out now

  • 15:04 (IST)

    Football team to be extracted in four groups: Bangkok Post

    According to the Bangkok Post, the trapped football team will be extracted in four groups. Quoting a source, the report said that the first group will have four people, the second, third and fourth with three people each. The coach will be in the final group. 

  • 14:50 (IST)

    WATCH: Time-lapse video of rain outside Thailand cave

  • 14:30 (IST)

    Thai govt releases graphic detailing how boys will be extracted

    BBC reporter Nick Beake tweeted out the graphic released by the Thailand government on how the rescue operations will be carried out. Two divers will accompany one boy, wearing full face masks and guided by rope. In narrow passageways, the divers will release the tank from the back and slowly roll it and guide the boy through. From chamber 3 of the cave system, they will walk to the mouth of the cave. 

  • 14:23 (IST)

    Heavy rain near cave

    According to The Guardianit is raining heavily a mile from the cave, where a team of 18 divers are currently involved in a rescue operation to extract the trapped 'Wild Boars' football team. 

  • 14:19 (IST)

    Thai version of Elon Musk's solution to extract boys being tested

    According to a BBC correspondent Thai officials are trying out a possible solution mooted by technology entreprenuer Elon Musk. 

    Musk had said on Friday he was sending engineers from his SpaceX and Boring Company to attempt a rescue of the youth football team in the Tham Luang cave. He said he was looking at ways to pump water out of the cave or to pump air inside. "Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle," he said on Twitter.

  • 14:16 (IST)

    Timeline: Rescue operations begin on Sunday (6/6)

    July 7, Saturday: Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn says it is "not suitable" yet to have the boys dive to safety. He says more than 100 vents are being drilled into the mountainside in a frantic bid to reach the boys.

     July 8, Sunday: Authorities announce that, with more heavy rain expected soon, the extraction operation has begun. Thirteen "world class" foreign divers and Thai Navy Seals enter the cave as the rescue begins. - AFP

  • 14:15 (IST)

    Timeline of Thailand cave rescue (5/6)

    July 5, Thursday: In a sign of increased urgency, authorities say expected rains may force a complex rescue quicker than first thought. A team of bird's nest collectors scour the mountainside in search of new openings into the cave roof. 

    July 6, Friday: Tragedy strikes: a diver helping to establish an airline to the boys dies after passing out while returning from the chamber.

    Thailand's Navy SEAL commander says oxygen levels inside have dropped. He warns the window of opportunity to free the youngsters is "limited", in the first official admission that the rescue cannot wait out the monsoon rains. - AFP

  • 14:14 (IST)

    Timeline of events (4/6) 

    July 3, Tuesday: Much-needed food and medical supplies — including high-calorie gels and paracetamol — reach the boys as rescuers prepare for the possibility that they may remain in the cave for some time.

    July 4, Wednesday: Officials say the group are being taught how to use diving masks and breathing apparatuses. Teams pump out water around the clock as more rain is forecast for the days ahead. AFP

  • 14:10 (IST)

    Timeline of cave rescue (3/6)

    June 29, Friday: Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha visits the site, leads a meditation and jokes and cooks with relatives, asking them not to give up hope.

    June 30, Saturday: A break in the rain allows divers to reach further inside the cave but they are still a long distance from where the boys are believed to be.

    July 1, Sunday: Divers inch further into the cave, as an operating base is set up inside and hundreds of air tanks and other supplies are pulleyed in.

    July 2, Monday: Finally, a miracle: the 12 boys and their coach are found alive late Monday evening about 400 metres beyond Pattaya Beach. Crowds at the teeming rescue site cheer the good news, but attention soon turns to the difficult task of getting the boys out safely.

  • 14:08 (IST)

    Timeline of events (2/6)

    June 26, Tuesday: Divers reach a T-junction several kilometres inside the cave but are forced back by rushing floodwaters that clog a narrow crevice near an elevated air pocket called "Pattaya Beach", where the boys are believed to have retreated.

    June 27, Wednesday: A team of more than 30 American military personnel from the US Pacific Command arrive, including pararescue and survival specialists. They are joined by three British diving experts who enter the cave but quickly retreat in the face of heavy flooding.

    June 28, Thursday: The underwater rescue is temporarily halted after downpours bring fast-moving floods inside the cave. Water pumps are shipped in to drain the rising, murky floodwaters and drones are dispatched to help find new vents in the cave roof.

    Image courtesy: AP

  • 14:05 (IST)

    Timeline of Thailand cave rescue (1/6)

    Thai authorities began on Sunday a dramatic operation to rescue 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded Thai cave, where they have been trapped for more than two weeks.

    Here is a timeline of the efforts to find and free the group: 

    June 23, Saturday: The youngsters, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach enter the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand during heavy rains after football practice. They are reported missing by a mother after her son does not come home that night. Local officials find bicycles locked to a fence and shoes and football boots close to the entrance.

    June 24, Sunday: Park officials and police find handprints and footprints believed to belong to the boys. Relatives start to keep a vigil outside the cave.

    June 25, Monday: Thai Navy SEAL divers enter the cave searching for the boys. Makeshift shrines are set up for parents to pray and make offerings as heavy rains continue.

  • 13:59 (IST)

    Challenges: T-Junction (5/5)


    The sliver of space is 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the shelf where the boys have been sheltering above the waters. After energy-sapping efforts navigating jagged tunnels and clambering up or down rock walls for this distance, they will confront Sam Yak.

    "The biggest crisis spot for diving is on the left from the T-Junction," said Narongsak Osottanakorn, the rescue mission chief, in a briefing on 2 July. After that though, the tunnels widen, the waters subside, and walking is even possible, according to authorities, with the rest of the journey expected to be relatively safe as they will have reached a forward operating base inside the cave. - AFP

  • 13:51 (IST)

    Challenges: Bad weather (4/5) 


    The operation was launched after several days of relatively mild weather, as more than 100 million of litres of water were pumped out of the cave. 

    But weather forecasters warned heavy rain was on its way, which could flood the area completely. They said there was a 60-percent chance of moderate to heavy rain on Sunday afternoon, and that heavier rain would continue from Monday to Thursday.

  • 13:44 (IST)

    Challenges: Visibility, panic (3/5)


    The water in the cave is muddy and unclear, with one diver comparing it to a cafe latte. The labyrinth has no outside light. The boys will be helped through the darkness by guiding rope, torches and the escorts. Nevertheless, the poor visibility is one of the factors raising concerns about the boys — already traumatised after spending so long in the cave and having to swim underwater — potentially panicking.

    "The mental side of this has to be one of the top considerations," Andrew Watson, an experienced rescuer of mineworkers, previously told AFP. "Just one individual panicking can cause a problem," he said.

  • 13:38 (IST)

    Challenges: Duration, strength (2/5) 

    The journey will be a long one. The rescue mission chief, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told reporters on Sunday that the first boy was not expected to emerge until 9 pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday. This tallies with previous estimates from officials that it would take the divers five hours to reach the ledge where the team is trapped, and six hours for the journey out. 

    The boys were found dishevelled and weak nine days after they ventured in. Although they have been receiving food and medicine since then, their lack of strength could be a crucial factor in determining their fate. - AFP

  • 13:31 (IST)

    Challenges in extracting football team (1/5) 

    Here are some of the challenges that the boys and their coach will face leaving the cave they ventured into on 23 June, becoming trapped more than four kilometres (2.4 miles) from the entrance because of monsoon rains.

    Diving ability 

    The boys, aged from 11 and 16, have no diving experience and some can not even swim. They have received training in recent days in preparation for the extraction effort, but they will have to swim using scuba gear through fast-flowing water in darkness, a challenge for even elite divers. The difficulty of the journey was underscored when a former Thai Navy Seal diver died on Friday after running out of oxygen in the cave.

    Thirteen "world class" foreign divers and Thai Navy Seals are involved in the rescue effort. Two divers will escort each of the boys and the coach, aged 25. - AFP

  • 13:23 (IST)

    Main 'crisis' point for rescue team: Navigating an extremely narrow tunnel in pitch blackness

    Authorities have highlighted the tiny passageway near T-Junction, or Sam Yak in Thai, as the most dangerous element of the journey for the "Wild Boars" team that began on Sunday morning. However, there are many other potential pitfalls too. 

    Image courtesy: Twitter @AFP

  • 13:18 (IST)

    WATCH: Youth football team found trapped inside cave

    Video courtesy: Facebook/ @ThaiSEAL

  • 13:09 (IST)

    Thailand PM Prayut Chan-ocha to arrive tomorrow to oversee rescue efforts

    Thai government spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that the Thai prime minister, General Prayut Chan-ocha will visit the rescue site tomorrow to meet the boys' families and to oversee the rescue operation, reported CNN.

  • 13:04 (IST)

    Australian doctor-diver part of rescue team

    According to The GuardianAustralian doctor and diver Dr Richard Harris, an Adelaide-based anaesthetist was specifically asked to join the rescue mission by the British divers who found the boys trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on Monday night. 

    He has previously worked with AusAID Vanuatu and also been an underwater cameraman on National Geographic documentaries and feature films. 

    On Saturday, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, tweeted that Australia was “sending a medical specialist with cave-diving experience to join the team of 17 [Australians] ... helping Thai government rescue 12 boys and soccer coach”.

  • 12:51 (IST)

    Thai cave rescue will take 2-3 days to complete, says official

    An effort to rescue 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded Thai cave that began on Sunday will take two to three days to complete, one of the operation leaders said.

    "The time duration is... about two to three days, which depends on other factors like the weather," Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakorn, an army commander, told reporters. - AFP

  • 12:40 (IST)

    Three Thai Navy SEALs, including a doctor, with football team

    An update on Saturday from the Thai Navy said three Navy SEALs were with the boys and their coach, one a doctor. The 13 were having health evaluations and rehabilitation, and were being taught diving skills. Food, electrolyte drinks, drinking water, medicine and oxygen canisters have been delivered to them. A major concern of the rescuers is that oxygen levels in their safe space could fall dangerously low.

    Image courtesy: AP

  • 12:38 (IST)

    Rescue path out complicated due to twists, turns in flooded passages

    Getting out via the route the 12 boys and their coach went through looks like the only feasible option, but a high-risk one, Thai officials say. Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.

    The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages. - AP

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Youth football team trapped in cave since 23 June

    The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for two weeks — since June 23, when they went exploring in northern Thailand's Tham Luang Nang Non cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

    The only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air. - AP

  • 12:31 (IST)

    Israeli external affairs ministry hopes for football team's safe return

  • 12:26 (IST)

    RECAP: Thai officials aim to rescue kids from cave before rain hits

    Worried that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more difficult, Thai officials said on Saturday that they may need to quickly rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety. - AP

  • 12:14 (IST)

    'Ready to bring football team home!' write Thai Navy SEALs

    The Thai Navy SEALs on Sunday posted a photograph on Facebook about the rescue mission that five of their members are involved in. “We, the Thai Navy SEALs, along with the international diver team, are ready to bring the soccer team home!” they wrote in the caption of the post. 

    The Thai Navy SEALs have been staying with the boys in the cave since they were found on Monday night. 

    Image courtesy: AP

  • 12:11 (IST)

    Roads near hospital, where boys will be taken, closed

    Traffic around the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, where officials plan to send the boys once they are out of the cave, has been closed, reported The GuardianIt is located 57 kilometres away from the cave. 

  • 12:04 (IST)

    Elon Musk wishes rescue team good luck

    Technology entreprenuer Elon Musk on Sunday wished the 'talented dive team' and said it made sense to begin the rescue operation now considering the monsoon. 

    Musk had said on Friday he was sending engineers from his SpaceX and Boring Company to attempt a rescue of the youth football team in the Tham Luang cave. He said he was looking at ways to pump water out of the cave or to pump air inside.

    "Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle," he said on Twitter.

  • 11:56 (IST)

    'Families informed about risky mission'

    Narongsak Osatanakorn said that the boys are physically ready and mentally determined and their families have also been informed of the risky mission.

  • 11:38 (IST)

    Helicopters and ambulances ready to transport boys to hospitals

    Narongsak Osatanakorn said that 13 ambulances and helicopters in two separate locations are ready to transport the boys to hospitals.

  • 11:33 (IST)

    RECAP: Rescuers drilled holes in the cave to hunt for the boys

    Rescuers had fed a kilometre-long air pipe into the cave to restore oxygen levels in the chamber where the team was sheltering with medics and divers. More than 100 exploratory holes had also been bored – some shallow, but the longest 400 metres deep – into the mountainside in an attempt to open a second evacuation route and avoid forcing the boys into the dangerous dive.

  • 11:22 (IST)

    'Boys ready to face any challenges': Rescue chief

    As the operation to extract the 12 boys and their football coach began, rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said that "the boys are ready to face any challenges."

  • 11:10 (IST)

    Support for youth football team pours in from across the world

    Messages of support for the "Wild Boars" team have come in from across the world, including from football stars in Russia for the World Cup.

    "I've been speaking about it with a few of the boys," said England defender John Stones, according to British media.

    "It's so sad to see where they are and we hope they get out safe and sound."

    Japan's World Cup squad tweeted a video urging the team to "Hang in there!", while Brazil legend Ronaldo called their plight "terrible".

Thailand cave rescue latest updates: Four of the 12 boys trapped in Thailand's Tham Luang cave since 23 June were rescued on Sunday, the BBC reported, quoting Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai province's health department and part of the rescue team. "Four kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave," he said.

According to the Bangkok Post, the trapped Thailand youth football squad will be extracted in groups of four. Quoting a source, the report said the first group will have four boys, and the second, third and fourth, three each. The coach will be in the final group.

 Thailand cave rescue updates: Official says four boys saved, operations to resume in 10-20 hours

An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area after divers evacuated some of the 12 boys trapped since 23 June. AFP

On Sunday, the Thailand government released a graphic on how the rescue operations will be carried out. Two divers will accompany one boy, wearing full face masks and guided by rope. In narrow passageways, the divers will release the tank from the back and slowly roll it and guide the boy through. From chamber 3 of the cave system, they will walk to the mouth of the cave.

Thailand government spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that the Thai prime minister, General Prayut Chan-ocha will visit the rescue site on Monday to meet the boys' families and to oversee the rescue operation, reported CNN.

The Thai Navy Seals on Sunday posted a photograph on Facebook about the rescue mission that five of their members are involved in. “We, the Thai navy Seals, along with the international diver team, are ready to bring the soccer team home!” they wrote in the caption of the post. Rescue efforts have begun for 12 boys and their football coach who have been trapped in a cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks, the head of the mission said on Sunday.

On Sunday, a Thailand army commander said the ongoing rescue of 12 boys and their coach could take 2-4 days depending on conditions inside the partially flooded cave. The operation which began at 10 am, will take about 11 hours to get the first person out, said officials.

The Thai official in charge of the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach says they're physically ready and mentally determined for their extraction now underway from a partially flooded cave. Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn says 13 ambulances and helicopters in two separate locations are ready to transport them to hospitals. The first is expected to reach safety at 9 pm on Sunday (10 am ET) at the earliest.

The operation has begun to rescue 12 boys and their football coach who will need to dive out of the flooded Thailand cave where they have been trapped for more than two weeks, with officials saying Sunday morning that "today is D-Day", the Associated Press said.

Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they are gradually extracted. The operation began at 10 am (local time) and he said it would take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued.

The only way to bring them out of Tham Luang Nang Non in Chiang Rai province is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out making the dive Friday and died.

Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

But the governor supervising the mission said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won't last if it rains again.

Before announcing that the rescue was underway, authorities ordered the throngs of media that have gathered at the cave from around the world to leave.

"Everyone who is not involved with the operations has to get out of the area immediately," police announced via loudspeaker at the site on Sunday morning, an Agence France-Presse report said.

"From the situation assessment, we need to use the area to help victims."

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game June 23. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

Their plight has transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, with more than 1,000 journalists registered to cover the rescue staking out a small patch of muddy land at the top of a hill near the entrance to monitor the race against time.

Rescue options

The footballers were found by British cave diving specialists nine days after they ventured in, dishevelled and hungry, on a ledge several kilometres inside the cave.

But initial euphoria over finding them alive quickly turned into deep anxiety as rescuers struggled to find a way to get the footballers out of the flooded cave complex.

Rescuers had fed a kilometres-long air pipe into the cave to restore oxygen levels in the chamber where the team was sheltering with medics and expert divers.

More than 100 exploratory holes had also been bored — some shallow, but the longest 400 metres deep — into the mountainside in an attempt to open a second evacuation route and avoid forcing the boys into a dangerous dive through submerged tunnels.

On Saturday Thai Navy SEALS published touching notes scrawled by the trapped footballers to their families, who had been waiting for them agonisingly close by outside the cave entrance.

The boys urged relatives "not to worry" and asked for their favourite food once they were safely evacuated.

In one, Pheerapat, nicknamed "Night", whose 16th birthday the group were celebrating in the cave when they became stuck on 23 June, said: "I love you, Dad, Mum and my sister. You don't need to be worried about me."

The site near the cave's entrance had swelled with media, volunteers and onlookers since the operation started, and authorities' patience has worn thin.

Mission chief Narongsak said in recent days that medic teams had complained about the media presence and they told him "it will be a problem if they have a real emergency situation".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2018 20:02:17 IST