The unprecedented mission to evacuate the "Wild Boar" football team from a flooded Thai cave finished on Tuesday after the final four boys and their coach were extracted by elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs. The final stage of the complex operation, which has gripped Thailand and dominated global headlines, put an end to the 18-day saga that started when the team entered the cave on June 23.
05:53pm – The 12th boy has been rescued, the Thai navy Seals have confirmed. “Hooyah.”
How the boys are retrieved
AJ+, an Al Jazeera media outlet, has made this short animation explaining how divers are retrieving the 12 boys and their coach.
The eleventh boy has now been rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand. Here’s how the divers are retrieving 12 boys and their coach. pic.twitter.com/eQ9CGlPCW8— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 10, 2018
Back on Sunday, the first four boys rescued asked from their hospital beds for a popular Thai basil stir-fry, but were told their digestive systems couldn't cope yet and they would have to stick to porridge.
Today the public health minister told reporters that the new arrivals had asked for bread with chocolate, and their request was granted.
Lovely quote from Thai Public Health Minister: 'This morning I got a report from the Department of Nutrition saying that the boys were asking for bread with chocolate spread. We saw no harm in that, so we gave them what they asked for' #ThamLuang #ThaiCaveResue #WildBoar— Rachel Kennedy (@rachelkennedy84) July 10, 2018
04:28pm – Thai TV said the eleventh to be rescued is the smallest, assumed to be 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng. His identity has not been confirmed.
UPDATE at 5:15pm: The 11th boy has reached the cave entrance. He’s the smallest and is in good health.
RT @SpringNews_TV: มีรายงานว่า หมูตัวที่ 11 ตัวเล็กที่สุดในทีม ยืนยันปลอดภัย เย้!! #ThamLuang #พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ถ้ำหลวง #Thailand #ThaiCaveRescue— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) July 10, 2018
The Thai rescue is continuing at a fast pace as an eleventh boy was rescued Tuesday afternoon local time, an eyewitness who is part of the rescue operations told CNN. That leaves rescuers with the task of bringing out only one more boy, and the Wild Boars' football coach, from the cave complex in northern Thailand.
A total of three boys have been pulled out of the cave so far on Tuesday, the third day of rescue operations.
Confirmed 11 boys out, 12th not yet #thamluangcave
04:19pm – An eleventh person has been seen being carried out of the cave, according to Reuters.
LATEST: Eleventh person seen carried out of Thai cave on stretcher: Reuters witness pic.twitter.com/rg7GTWvkfg— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) July 10, 2018
The identities of those rescued have not been confirmed. If the adults are rescued last those remaining in the cave would be two more boys, their coach, three navy seals and a doctor.
Narongsak Osatanakor, the head of the operation, said: “If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out. Four plus one coach, so it’s five.”
03:54pm – The Thai Navy Seals, who are leading the rescue effort, have confirmed that a ninth boy was rescued and is out of the cave.
— DhakaTribune (@DhakaTribune) July 10, 2018
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 10, 2018
BREAKING: Ambulance seen leaving site of cave rescue effort in northern Thailand.— The Associated Press (@AP) July 10, 2018
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) July 10, 2018
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 10, 2018
Thailand cave rescue: 10th boy rescued as mission to free others continues – live https://t.co/TjwuRzQF7x— The Guardian (@guardian) July 10, 2018
03:37pm – Reuters reports that a tenth person has been rescued citing a witness.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 10, 2018
03:17pm – One more boy was brought out of the cave complex on Tuesday, the third day of rescue operations.
The boy is being treated at the medical facility on site, according to a Thai navy official with direct knowledge of the operational details.
Nine of the 12 boys have now been rescued. Three boys and their coach remain in the cave.
03:15pm – The Thai boys and their coach were invited to the World Cup final by FIFA last Friday. But they will “probably still be in isolation," Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Health, Dr Jessada Chokedamrongsook said in a press conference Sunday. He said they would likely be able to watch on television.
03:07pm – Hundreds of volunteers have been working around the clock — many from all across Thailand — cooking and serving up free food for the rescue workers and assorted media stationed at the command center near the Tham Luang cave complex. It’s an extensive operation with several large outdoor kitchens and supply stations offering sanitary goods, like wet-wipes and soaps.
Last night volunteers cooked up khao pad krapow, a Thai traditional fried rice dish that the boys asked for in hospital.
2:50pm- AP says an ambulance has been seen leaving the site of the cave. But there has been no confirmation that a ninth boy has been rescued.
"Every step of the extraction is risky," diver says
2:06pm- Narongsuk Keasub, one of the divers helping transport air tanks for the SEAL team, spoke with CNN about the inherent dangers of the rescue mission. He called it "the hardest mission" he has ever done.
"We could only see our hands (and a) short distance, secondly the stones are razor sharp which is dangerous for our diving, thirdly the passage is very narrow," Keasub said.
12:52pm- “All eight are in good health, no fever... everyone is in a good mental state,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating.
12:20pm- “Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, said.
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
Monsoon rain is now coming down hard in Mae Sai — and shows no sign of letting up. The return of the rains will put extra pressure on today’s rescue efforts, as divers battle to retrieve the remaining kids before flood waters rise @cnni pic.twitter.com/JgjE5VTp0a— Steve George (@steve0george) July 10, 2018
11:30am- The four remaining boys and their coach, who are trapped inside the cave, should all be evacuated Tuesday, mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn told reporters.
10:30am- Doctors said the boys will miss the World Cup as they will spend at least seven days in hospital. They won’t be able to take up the offer from the president of Fifa to attend the match in Russia next week.
10:00am- Doctors are setting up a phone line so that the boys in hospital can speak with their parents.
According to the Guardian, it appears that the youngest child, Chanin Wiboonrunreung, and the coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, are still inside the cave.
09:30am- The first four boys to be rescued have now seen their parents, and the other four will likely see their parents today, reports the Guardian.
The boys are in hospital and only saw their parents through glass.
The boys are generally healthy and safe, doctors said, but two are receiving treatment for “minor” lung infections.
It will be at least seven days before they are discharged from hospital.
It 6.50am here in Chiang Rai and it bucketed down rain overnight. Authorities said yesterday that heavy storms on Sunday night didn’t hamper Thai cave rescue efforts. Let’s hope it’s the same case today. @SBSNews— Omar Dabbagh (@Omar_Dabbagh) July 9, 2018
9:24am- The Chiang Rai city hospital is likely to provide an update shortly on the health of the eight boys already freed, reports the Guardian.
Operation resumes on day 3 for final 5
8:58am (July 10)- Divers and rescue workers in Thailand have begun what could be the final push to free four boys and their soccer coach still trapped in a cave in the country's remote north, according to a Thai Navy official.
Eight of the boys were taken out of the cave during the first two days of rescue operations, but five others remain trapped on a ledge 4 kilometers inside the cave system, reports the CNN.
— David McKenzie (@McKenzieCNN) July 10, 2018
The operation to rescue the boys from the cave has been completed for the day.
It has been confirmed that four boys were rescued on the second day of the operation on Monday, adding to the four who were safely removed on Monday.
The rescue of the four boys would be consistent with Sunday's move to take out four at a time.
According to the BBC weather team, the coming week will bring tropical showers and sporadic thunderstorms to the region around the cave.
Fairly heavy showers are expected until Thursday, likely followed by heavier rains at the end of the week.
Any rainfall could add further risks to an already dangerous and complex rescue operation.
The offer reportedly still stands for the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia after Fifa president Gianni Infantino invited them on Friday.
In a letter to the Thai Football Association, Infantino offered "deepest sympathies and support" for the young team, adding that if they were rescued in time and were healthy enough to travel, it would "undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration" for them to enjoy.
The head coach of the Wild Boars soccer team had temporarily suspended all matches and practices after it emerged that the boys on the under-16s team were trapped in the cave. They were too worried about their teammates to play soccer.
But with news of the rescues, he decided to get the older team together for a practice in a show of unity with the rescuers, and to keep spirits up.
The mood there was optimistic, and the players and coaching staff were confident that the junior team would be home soon. Some of the over-17s told CNN they looked forward to welcoming their junior teammates home and playing football with them soon.
08:00pm – Following the great news about the eighth freed member of the team, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has arrived at the site.
He had originally remained in nearby Chiang Rai so not to hamper the rescue efforts.
Pictures have emerged of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visiting the rescue site at the Tham Luang cave.
He is seen in the photos talking to Navy Seals and rescue medics. pic.twitter.com/UZHEswwmw3
07:22pm – The Thai navy SEALs, the military unit running the rescue operation, have confirmed that eight boys have now been rescued. Its Facebook page does not reveal the identity of the rescued boys.
07:05pm – The four boys rescued from the cave on Monday were wearing full face diving masks while they were carried out of the cave to the make shift hospital nearby, according to an eyewitness who is part of the rescue operations stationed at the entrance of the cave.
He added that the boys were also wearing dive suits while being carried on stretchers and that their masks would be removed by medical staff at the make shift hospital.
As members of the boys' soccer team trapped in a cave continue being rescued on Monday, the focus is shifting to the boys' long-term health and getting them proper medical aid. Health experts will be checking oxygen, malnutrition, dehydration, post-traumatic stress, and other psychological effects.
"One of the major concerns is oxygen right now. They've been in an area where oxygen levels are low," Dr Darria Long Gillespie of the University of Tennessee School of Medicine told CNN.
— Thaivisa (@georgebkk) July 8, 2018
— ThaiMythbuster (@thaimythbuster) July 9, 2018
They will also be checked for malnutrition, dehydration and an array of other health effects.
Dr Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist who is also a scuba diver, called it "an amazing feat" that some of the boys had been rescued. She said officials would need to check for post-traumatic stress and other psychological effects on the boys.
She said it would be extremely important to relay the good news of the first boys' rescue to the others who remain trapped inside. "That would be such a boost for their confidence," Lieberman said.
The Chiangrai governor admits that there was no unanimity under the parents. Some were opposed after they learned the dangers of the #thamluangcaverescue #ThaiCaveRescue
The boys will be send to Chiangrai Prachanukroh hospital. pic.twitter.com/vHTmzgjpLT— ThaiMythbuster (@thaimythbuster) July 8, 2018
06:45pm – Sixth and seventh boys are being airlifted to hospital in Chiang Rai.
Thai TV said it takes 20 minutes for a helicopter to reach the helipad which is 700 meter from the hospital.
It takes the helicopter only 20 minutes to fly from near the cave to Chiang Rai. Then it’s only 700 meters to the hospital #ThamLuang #พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ถ้ำหลวง #Thailand #ThaiCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/0ZaoKmphYR— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) July 9, 2018
06:25pm – The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is at the cave site, has seen signs of more rescues.
2 more ambulances just left the cave entrance. Presumed - but not confirmed - to have 6th and 7th evacuees— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) July 9, 2018
— TNAMCOT English (@TNAMCOTEnglish) July 9, 2018
06:05pm – Reuters and CNN report a seventh and eighth boy being rescued, citing witnesses.
— Trish Bennett Writer (@baabennett) July 9, 2018
— cheewee (@cheeweeng) July 9, 2018
Mae Sai Prasitsart School, where six of the trapped boys study, will prepare special classes for when they return, school director Kanet Pongsuwan said at a news conference on Monday.
He said the boys would be offered psychological support but would be treated “like any other students at school” to help them settle back in, Channel News Asia reported.
“We’ll never make them feel guilty over what has happened. We’ll not blame them for it,” he said.
— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) July 9, 2018
05:39pm – Reuters report sixth and seventh boys has left the cave.
UPDATE: The good news keeps coming at the #ThailandCaveRescue . Widespread reports now that the sixth and seventh boys have now been successfully freed. Which means five boys and their coach remain in the caves.— NEWS 1130 (@NEWS1130) July 9, 2018
Confirmed: Sixth boy rescued
05:18pm – A sixth boy has been rescued, a source inside the rescue team has confirmed to the Guardian.
Can confirm sixth boy is now out #thamluangcave
05:16pm – The fifth boy to be rescued from the cave complex in northern Thailand has arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai. He will join his four teammates already being treated at the newly converted isolation ward at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.
05:09pm – Reports are now emerging of a sixth boy coming out.
The Thai prime minister was supposed to visit the site but is now hanging around Chiang Rai so as not to disrupt the operation.
05:00pm – Thai public television has broadcast live video of a medivac helicopter landing close to a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai, near the site of the cave, AP reports.
The Associated Press said, “Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person’s identity behind multiple white umbrellas. An ambulance was seen leaving the scene immediately afterward early Monday evening.”
“Less than an hour earlier, an ambulance with flashing lights had left the cave complex, hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue the soccer team.”
“Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the 12-member team’s coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.”
04:55pm – Pad Krapow, Thai basil leaves with meat and rice, was the meal the boys rescued on Sunday, according to Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the mission.
“They made a special request that they wished to have Pad Krapow,” Narongsak told a press briefing.
fyi: Spicy stir-fry meat with Thai basil or "Khao Pad Krapow" that the rescued 4 Wild Boars crave is known among Thai as thoughtless dish. Most Thais order the dish when they run out of ideas what to eat. #Thamluang #Moopa #13ชีวิตต้องรอด— veena T. (@veen_th) July 9, 2018
Pad krapow moo from three angles pic.twitter.com/tgx9JnJzQB— Kenny McGovern 🍜 (@takeawaysecret) May 5, 2018
04:29pm – Thai TV stations have been broadcasting footage of an ambulance, believed to be carrying the fifth rescued boy, driving from the cave to a waiting helicopter.
The helicopter was seen heading south towards Chiang Rai where the other rescued boys are treated in hospital.
— Duangthip_ThaiPBS (@duangtip_TPBS) July 9, 2018
A source inside the rescue operation has confirmed to the Guardian a fifth boy emerged from the cave not long ago.
An ambulance rush past and about five minutes later a helicopter flew over the media centre site to cheers from many of the Thai volunteers.
04:15pm – An ambulance has left the site amid multiple reports of fifth boy being rescued.
— ittipat pinrarod (@ittipatNationTV) July 9, 2018
03:50pm – Rescuers brought at least one boy out of the cave system on Monday, according to a witness outside the cave in northern Thailand.
He joins four other boys who were rescued on Sunday from deep inside the cave by a team of international and Thai dive experts.
The boys, all part of a youth football team known as the Wild Boars, first went missing over two weeks ago. Last Monday they were discovered huddled on a narrow shelf of rock deep within the flooded cave system.
Rescue leader: We hope for good news soon
3:01pm- Mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn confirmed that Monday's attempt to rescue more boys from the cave began at 11am local time.
It involves the same divers -- with a "few swapped out" -- who carried out Sunday's treacherous operation which took nine hours and led to the rescue of four boys.
He said the team "hopes to hear good news soon."
— Zarry Hendrik (@zarryhendrik) July 9, 2018
The second attempt started up after rescue workers got some rest and refilled supplies, reports the Guardian.
2:40pm- Speaking at a press briefing, officials suggested that the stronger and healthier boys would be rescued first.
1:02pm- The rescue mission has resumed, according to a Thai navy official with knowledge of the operation.
The navy officer told CNN: “The operation has begun and it is ongoing at the moment.”
He added the same set of divers as yesterday have gone into the cave.
— Jo Shelley (@joshelleyCNN) July 9, 2018
12:30pm- A helicopter has landed close to the rescue site, reports the Guardian.
"No hugging, no touching the rescued children"
12:12pm- The four boys, who were rescued last night, are in good overall health and should be able to see their families later today.
Thailand’s health department inspector Dr Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong said the boys have undergone a series of tests at Prachanukroh hospital in Chiang Rai.
He told the Thai daily newspaper Kom Chad Lek, that the boys should be able to see close relatives later today after tests were completed, but warned there must be no physical contact until the results of blood tests came back.
Rescue operation hasn't resumed yet
11:41am- The operation to extricate the remaining trapped boys and their coach has not resumed, Deputy Commander to 3rd Army Region Maj Gen Chalongchai Chaiyakum said.
The general told CNN on the phone: “The operation has not resumed yet. We are still in meetings.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 8, 2018
11:30am- Elon Musk has shared video of his team testing out his small “kid-sized submarine,” which he suggested as a potential solution for rescuing the trapped children.
Musk said the “mini-sub,” which is towed by adult divers, weighed about 40kg, meaning it was “easy to carry on long dry sections of the cave” and then divers could add “diver weight belts wrapped around [the] outside” as ballast.
He also wrote: “With some mods, this could also work as an escape pod in space.”
Elon Musk confirmed several days ago that he was in talks with Thai government about whether he might be able to assist with rescue efforts, reports the Guardian.
— Christoph Sator (@ChristophSator) July 9, 2018
11:07am- Mae Sai Prasitsart School’s teacher Thongyaud Kejorn says the boys will not have to take an exam scheduled for next week.
“They will not have to follow the normal schedules,” Kejorn said at a press conference on Monday morning.
He said each of the returning students would receive individual counseling with a psychiatrist.
10:39am- Six of the boys who got trapped in the cave are from Mae Sai Prasitsart School. The students and teachers of the school have described to the press the preparations they have made for when the boys return.
They said they have been receiving guidance from mental health professionals.
10:13am- Same divers, who rescued the first four boys, will conduct the next operation.
I hope everyone takes a moment today to remember Saman Gunan, the Thai Navy Seal that died making sure the kids stuck in the cave had enough oxygen so that today's rescue would even be possible. #ThaiCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/LkhGmBXOAl— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) July 8, 2018
Such decision was taken as the divers know the cave conditions and what to do, Thailand’s Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said.
The officials were meeting on Monday morning about the next stage of the operation and how to extract the remaining boys from the cave.
Anupong said the divers need to place more air canisters along the underwater route to where the boys and their coach are trapped.
Britain’s John Volanthen and Rick Stanton are leading the cave rescue. They are regarded as the best cave divers in the world. They originally found the lost boys.
Rescue attempts for today are underway. Rain ☔️ of course, looms in the forecast. #caverescue #ThaiCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/2VqdJ7RR8e— Matrixity (@Matrixity) July 9, 2018
10:09am- In a TV interview Monday morning, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she believed the boys would be brought out in groups of four, meaning at least two more operations.
She said Australia had sent a team of 19 to support the rescue operation.
Public encouraged to write messages of support for boys
10:00am- A visitors' book has been placed for public to write messages of support to the boys.
The staff of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital placed the book. The four boys who were recovered Monday night are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital.
More oxygen needed to finish rescue operation
9:46am- While giving details of the rescue mission, Chiang Rai's Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn all oxygen supplies were used up during the first opetaion.
He said they will have to prepare more oxygen supplies, reports CNN.
9:35am-There are reports circulating that one of the four people rescued last night was 25-year-old Ekapol Chanthawong, the football coach of the students.
It is being speculated that he might have been removed from the cave because he was unwell.
According to the Guardian, the coach fell ill as he gave the boys all the food to eat while they waited for rescuers to find them.
now we’re at the multilingual school that half of the boys attend, about to hear from staff and classmates. pic.twitter.com/hY8SFD1Xpb— Jacob Goldberg (@yayqe) July 9, 2018
Rescue operation to resume with eight boys and coach still trapped
9:00am (July 9) - The divers have not gone into the cave for the rescue mission to bring out the remaining boys, but are planning on doing so soon, reports the Guardian.
Four confirmed out, rescue on hold
07:52pm – The head of the rescue operation has said four of the boys are now safely in hospital.
There are conflicting reports about the number of boys released from the cave, but the head of the rescue operation and Thai Navy SEALs say at least four are out of the cave.
Credible local news sources and the Reuters news agency had reported six of the 12 boys have been rescued.
“Our operation was more successful than we expected,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the rescue, said at a press briefing on Sunday.
The rescue has been concluded for the night and will resume in 10-20 hours because “we’ve used all the oxygen,” according to the operation chief.
The operation is set to resume at 8am local time with officials and volunteers buoyed by the fact that their method of rescuing the boys by diving has been successful insofar.
Psychiatry expert: Boys will require immediate support
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% 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.
07:52pm – A round of applause erupted after Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said he had met the children.
He said their health is “perfect” and called today the “best situation.”
50 foreign divers and 40 Thai divers are currently involved in the rescue operation.
07:50pm – A helicopter flies over the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, around 50 miles from the rescue site, following two ambulances which arrived earlier.
— Nick Beake (@Beaking_News) July 8, 2018
07:44pm – One Thai news site has reported one of the boys rescued from the cave was said to need "close medical attention."
But the report has not been confirmed.
A helicopter just flew overheard, in the direction of Chiang Rai (and the provincial hospital). There are unconfirmed reports one of the boys is not doing so well. Will bring you more on that when we have something solid. #thauang #Thailand
Ambulances arrive at Chiang Rai hospital
07:34pm – The BBC's Nick Beake has tweeted a photo of the hospital at Chiang Rai, not far from the cave complex. Two ambulances have arrived at the building.
The main hospital in Chiang Rai (about an hour from the #Thamlaung cave) where 2 ambulance have arrived. Thai Navy Seals say 4 boys have been rescued so far. #ThaiCaveRescue . We’ll bring you the latest on @BBCWorld @BBCNews & @bbcworldservice & online pic.twitter.com/4Hs5ar3PQb— Nick Beake (@Beaking_News) July 8, 2018
07:14pm – President Donald Trump tweets US is helping Thai government rescue boys from cave.
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
Thai navy SEALs: Four boys exit cave
07:04pm - The Thai Navy SEALs have said four boys have been rescued, as Reuters reports that six boys have now left the cave complex.
In a Facebook post, the Thai navy SEALs have said four members of the youth football team had exited the cave as of 12:47GMT.
06:54pm - A senior member of the rescue medical team has reportedly told Reuters that six boys have now exited the Tham Luang cave complex.
06:33pm - Reuters and local media report that the first boys rescued from the cave have been transferred by helicopter to the hospital in Chiang Rai.
AFP: Four boys expected to ‘walk out’ soon
06:37pm – Lieutenant-General Kongcheep Tantrawanit has said another four of the boys are expected to walk out “shortly.” They are currently at the divers’ “base camp,” inside the cave system, he said, according to Agence France Press.
“Four boys have reached chamber three and will walk out of the cave shortly,” he said.
06:33pm - Another ambulance is going up, according to the BBC’s Helier Cheung. It has been reported that doctors assessed the boys inside the cave on Saturday and drew up an priority evacuation list with the weakest to be brought out first, and the strongest to be rescued last.
Ambulance going up. Fourth I’ve seen in this short amount of time. pic.twitter.com/ADl47EHYCg— Helier Cheung (@HelierCheung) July 8, 2018
06:22pm - A reporter at the scene has apparently been told by rescue teams at the entrance of the cave that the lowered water levels have shortened the journey out of the cave.
Many chambers are reportedly walk-able now, which would go some way to corroborating the Reuters report.
Further rain, however, is forecast later today.
Rescue teams at the entrance of the cave saying the lowered water has decreased the journey out of the cave as many chambers are walk-able right now.— Florian Witulski (@vaitor) July 8, 2018
06:21pm - A military helicopter believed to be carrying rescued schoolboys takes off near Tham Luang cave complex.
A helicopter flies from #ThamLuang cave complex towards Chiang Rai's city centre following reports of first two boys successfully evacuated. They'll be sent to a hospital for medical care https://t.co/Nz93mYEwJj pic.twitter.com/WVRlAFlSMX— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 8, 2018
06:09pm - The BBC has posted a video of an ambulance leaving the cave site.
WATCH: BBC footage of ambulance leaving cave site amidst reports first boys from trapped football team have been rescued #thamluangcave #thamluang #ถ้ำหลวง #13ชีวิตติดถ้ำ #13ชีวิตรอดแล้ว #พาหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ThailandCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/qu441ZuiJH— Howard Johnson (@Howardrjohnson) July 8, 2018
Reuters: First two boys have been rescued
The first two members of the Thai football team have been rescued, a local rescue official told Reuters.
“Two kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave,” said Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai’s health department and part of the rescue team.
“We are giving them a physical examination. They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet,” Tossathep told Reuters.
05:20pm - Various contradictory reports are circulating regarding the emergence of two of the boys.
Reuters says, citing a local official, that the first two members of the Thai football team have been recovered from the cave.
ITV says that a local police chief has just told him that two of the boys are out of the cave complex. They are apparently safe and reasonably well.
The Bangkok Post, meanwhile, says the first 2 boys are on their way to the entrance of the cave suggesting that they have completed the swim and are now walking through the chambers.
I know a lot of you are hanging out for good news. I’m being very cautious and waiting for official confirmation. But don’t go to bed yet, we are trying to confirm various rumors and local news reports. #thamluangcave #thamluang #Thailand
Thais have been gripped by the two-week drama unfolding at the Tham Luang cave system, and took to social media on Sunday as rescue efforts unfolded.
Many have been sharing cartoons praying for a successful conclusion to the Wild Boar team's odyssey, hoping that it will end in their safe rescue.
All of #Thailand and much of the world are praying for a successful rescue of the thirteen from the cave and the safety of everyone involved. Cartoon by @stephffart #ThamLuang #พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ถ้ำหลวง #ThaiCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/IvrBg2TFip— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) July 8, 2018
— 🐤💚KMMuaY (@muayyg_) July 8, 2018
05:20pm - Thirteen medical teams are standing ready outside the cave - each with its own helicopter and ambulance - one for each of 12 boys and their coach.
After an initial assessment at the site, there are plans for the boys to be airlifted around 50 miles to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.
A source at the hospital told Reuters that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the party and a further 30 doctors were on stand-by, adding that everyone was feeling tense.
"At 2.40pm Monday, Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital released photos of a ward that is reserved for the missing 13, stating that they are 100% prepared, with all equipment ready to go and a team of nurses and doctors on call." #Thailand#13ชีวิตต้องรอด #ถ้ำหลวง #13ชีวิตติดถ้ำ pic.twitter.com/VAEaWy8n6P— JB (@3ty3) July 2, 2018
“The teams here are happy the boys are being rescued but also anxious about the severity of the boys’ conditions. We’re under a lot of pressure,” she said, under condition of anonymity because she was not allowed to speak to the media.
The area outside the hospital is cordoned off and police are patrolling the area. On the street leading to the hospital, vendors are being ordered to “keep off the road” and to “not obstruct the transfer mission.”
The first boys aren't expected to leave the cave for another three hours at the earliest, but some locals are already waiting near the Chiang Rai hospital where the team will be treated.
05:05pm - There has reportedly been a flurry of activity where the media are assembled with people being ordered to leave the sides of the roads amid rumours a high-ranking politician may soon be arriving.
Given the timing, it’s unlikely the boys are coming out so quickly, since rescue operations only started at 9 today and it takes several hours to reach them, and hours to come back. But could be a VIP visit? People being told to leave the side of the road pic.twitter.com/JByow1UEaW— Helier Cheung (@HelierCheung) July 8, 2018
Caver: Rescuers need to be flexible
Cave explorer Emily Davis, who has experience of being trapped underground herself, says the divers taking part in the rescue are "top-notch, international cave divers. They really know their stuff so I have confidence they’ll be able to do this."
She says that key to a successful rescue is that the divers remain alert and adaptable.
Hang on boys, rescue is coming. 🐗🇹🇭
The mission to rescue 12 boys and football coach from a cave in Thailand has begun - and it's a race against time (and water) https://t.co/O1Tar77eGr
LIVE: https://t.co/Sc9awbB2XJ pic.twitter.com/rA5wRP7CA3— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 8, 2018
“Cave rescue has to be malleable. They probably have a plan in place but there has to be some flexibility depending on any situation. The fact that they’ve drained the water down to the level they have, makes a major difference. It will make (the rescue) considerably easier. But there has to be availability of change, and because these guys are so experienced they’ll be able to change on the fly.”
04:55pm - In a press release, the head of the joint command centre, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, issued an update on the progress of the cave rescue operation.
“The operation began at 10am (local time) when 13 international divers entered the cave. 10 of them headed for chamber 9 (where the boys are) and chamber 6 (near the junction) as planned. Another 3 cave divers performed their duty to support diving efforts beginning at 14.00.”
— Jasveer singh👨🏻💻 (@jasveer10) July 8, 2018
“There are a number of additional rescue personnel including divers, from Thailand, USA, Australia, China and Europe stationed from chamber 3 to the entrance. This includes a rope system to assist over difficult terrain in chambers 2 and 3.”
Due to the difficulty of the operation, Osottanakorn says it is unknown how long it might take until the first child has made it out – it had been suggested earlier today that the first of the boys could be out by 2pm BST.
04:40pm - The boys are expected to be swimming throughout the passageways in tandem with the cave divers. A graphic published by the Thai News Agency illustrates the task ahead in what it calls the “cave maze-bottle neck.”
Renewed monsoon downpours above them have come and gone throughout the past hour, according to reporters at the scene.
ปฏิบัติการพาหมูป่าออกถ้ำหลวง โดยให้ซีล 2 คน ประกบ 1 คน หน้า-หลัง มีเชือกนำทาง ซึ่งเด็กจะสวมหน้ากากดำน้ำแบบเต็มหน้าและใส่ชุดเว็ทสูท ต้องเจอกับเสี่ยงทั้ง กระแสน้ำ ความคดเคี้ยวถ้ำ-คอขวด และอุปสรรคใหญ่ คือจุดน้ำลึกสุด 5 ม. คาดใช้เวลา 11 ชม. เข้า 6 ชม. ออก 5 ชม. #พาทีมหมูป่ากลับบ้าน pic.twitter.com/gVGpwwro3q— สำนักข่าวไทย อสมท (@TNAMCOT) July 8, 2018
04:35pm - Rain has cleared - for now. The weather in the area has improved.
Tense wait for families
For the families of the trapped boys, this is the day they've been waiting for - but it's also one that fills them with dread.
There's been no shortage of warnings in recent days about how risky the rescue attempt will be - not least the death of former Thai Navy Sgt Saman Kunan, an ex-SEAL, who died early Friday morning due to a lack of air while attempting to return to a command centre deep underground.
On Sunday, CNN visited the home of Peerapat Sompeangjai, whose family has been glued to the television, waiting for news.
Peerapat turned 16 years old on the day the boys disappeared. During the search, his family said that they hadn't touched his birthday cake, in the hope that he would soon return home to share it.
Peerapat's 17-year-old sister, Phanphatsa told CNN on Sunday that they'd eaten the cake, but she promised to make him another one - and all his favourite food.
— More Cowbell! (@scottatal) July 8, 2018
Diver: Weather changing is really scary
Rafael Aroush, an Israeli diver who lives in Thailand and has travelled to the rescue site to help, tells CNN that the weather, which seems to be closing in, is a "great factor" and "actually really scary."
He says because the cave is limestone and there are many streams overflowing into the cave, ongoing inclement weather could "destroy the whole operation."
Speed is "very, very important," now, he says. "(There) might be crucial changes in the rescue operation (plan) and somebody will make a decision maybe to bring more of them out today."
04:22pm - A plastic model mapping the mountains above where the boys and their coach are trapped has been spotted in a local government office.
a plastic model of the mountains where the boys and their coach are now in the process of being rescued. spotted in the Pong Pha sub-district office, where press were instructed to relocate from the rescue site this morning. pic.twitter.com/nYNP7Xkgo9— Jacob Goldberg (@yayqe) July 8, 2018
The operation to rescue the trapped boys and their coach is truly a global effort, with experts from the United Kingdom, United States, China, Australia, Japan, Laos and Myanmar. Companies from other countries have offered support by donating equipment.
Australia is sending a medical specialist with cave-diving expertise to join the Aussie team of 17 from @AusFedPolice @DeptDefence @dfat helping Thai Government rescue 12 boys and soccer coach
🇦🇺🇹🇭 @NatTraumaCentre #AUSMAT #ThamLuangCave pic.twitter.com/Fk0zjsPmcN— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) July 7, 2018
The rescue mission also attracted the attention of SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk, who offered to send engineers to join the already huge operation being carried out at the Tham Luang cave complex.
Continue to be amazed by the bravery, resilience & tenacity of kids & diving team in Thailand. Human character at its best.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2018
A statement said Musk may "provide services for location tracking, water pumping or battery power."
04:00pm - The first group of boys should be on their way back now. Helicopters await to ferry them to the region’s largest hospital almost 60 miles away.
These are just some of the helicopters standing by to fly out the 13 “Wild Boars” youth football team to the next hospital if necessary, as divers are beginning their extraction out of the #ThamLaung since earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/QuPN3HhjIr— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) July 8, 2018
03:20pm (july 8)- The trapped boys will be divided into four groups, the Bangkok Post is quoting a source as saying. It says the first group will have four people, with the second, third and fourth containing three people. The coach will be in the final group.
Coach Ekkapol Chantawong (left) is among the last 3 including 2 boys to be escorted by divers out of flooded #ThamLuang cave: Rescue authorities. #D-Day
File photo @ThaiSEAL FB page pic.twitter.com/xhG3V48Hhg— Bangkok Post (@BangkokPostNews) July 8, 2018