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Thailand cave rescue operation: All the latest updates

Rescue operation continues as four members and coach of youth football team remain trapped in northern Thailand cave.

Chiang Rai

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 association 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.

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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

  • 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). 

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.

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. 

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.

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 trapped inside the cave. 
  • Rescue operations have been paused for Monday. Rescue divers will continue their mission on Tuesday.

Sixth boy about to come out, sources say

  • Sources have said 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.

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".

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.  

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."

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."

Everyone 'amazingly happy' 

  • 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.  

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.  

Boys will require immediate support: Psychiatry expert

  • Doctor Andrea Danese, a Psychiatry lecturer at King's College in London, said 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 19:47 local time (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. 

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

  • Thailand's interior minister is reportedly on the way to the field hospital, where the three boys are being assessed, Heidler said. 
  • Two ambulances have been seen leaving Tham Luang and one helicopter has been 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. 

 

cave

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. 

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. 

cave

Rescue operation 'still a huge risk': cave expert

  • Anmar Mirza, cave expert and US National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, said 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 said. 
  • "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. 

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