What We Know So Far
- All 12 boys and their coach have been rescued and are being treated in hospital, the Thai Navy Seals confirmed Tuesday.
- The group went missing on June 23 and was found alive by divers July 2 on a small ledge above the water in a section of the 6-mile-long Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.
- Though water levels in the cave have dropped, the journey remains dangerous even for experienced divers and bad weather threatens to hinder the operation.
- A former Thai Navy SEAL died during the rescue operation after he ran out of oxygen on a diving mission Friday.
The details of this incredible rescue is still coming to light – there is already talk of it being made into a Hollywood film.
Here's a slightly longer look at the bravery and ingenuity of the operation.
– Patrick Smith
The four remaining rescue workers – three Thai Navy Seals and a medic – are now out of the caves and the rescue mission is now over.
In a press conference, operation leader Narongsak Osantanakorn declared that the four rescuers – nicknamed "Frogs" on social media – were safely out. They had been staying with the boys while they waited to be rescued, providing medical support and guidance on the escape route.
"Mission accomplished," he said.
– Patrick Smith
One of the more eyebrow-raising elements of the rescue was Elon Musk's suggestion that a small submarine he had developed could be used to rescue the boys.
He even went as far as going to the cave site and leaving a submarine for the rescuers to use. But the submarine was deemed not fit to be used and his involvement quickly became a meme.
Several cartoons showing the rescue operation have been shared widely on social media, reflecting the intense interest in the boys' safety.
This one, posted on Facebook Sunday by Aruni Aunhawarakorn and Jantima Manasviyoungkul, two sisters from Bangkok, shows the boys of the Wild Boars soccer team — represented by pigs — being led out of the cave by a white elephant, which represents Narongsak Osatanakorn, the man leading the operation.
All 12 of the Wild Boars soccer team, who had spent more than two weeks trapped inside the flooded cave system, have now been freed after an extraordinary three-day rescue mission, according to the Thai navy SEALs.
The moment the world feared may never come has now arrived: All 12 boys who had been trapped in the Tham Luang cave have been rescued and are either in the hospital or en route, along with their 25-year-old coach.
A team of 19 divers, including Thai and international volunteers, made three separate trips along the rocky, treacherous, and in parts flooded 6-mile cave network to reach the boys — before making the same hazardous trip back with two boys at a time.
The Thai navy SEALs said on Facebook: "12 wild pigs and coaches out of the cave. Safe everyone. This time, waiting to pick up 4 Frogs."
"Frogs" refers to the divers and medics who had been waiting in the caves with the 12 boys.
In a subsequent post, the navy SEALs said: "We are not sure if this is a miracle, science, or what. All the 13 Wild Boars are now out of the cave."
Each ambulance or helicopter that raced away from the cave site carrying one of the boys to the hospital was cheered by the gathered journalists, who had arrived from across the world in the hope of seeing this moment.
The Thai authorities have been slow to confirm news regarding the rescue or to provide details on the health of the boys, but earlier on Tuesday officials told a press conference that the eight who had at that point been rescued were in good health.
They had even, according to the Thai public health minister, been given chocolate spread and bread, a treat they asked for.
Details of the dedication and bravery of rescue workers are only now filtering through to the media, such as the Australian anesthetist who had been visiting the boys and staying with them until the day's final rescue.
The Thai delegation to the United Nations thanked all the international volunteers who had made the rescue possible.
The 11th boy to be rescued has now left the cave, according to reports, leaving just one boy remaining plus the team's coach. This remarkable rescue appears to be coming to an end.
The latest boy emerged from the cave at 5:08 p.m. local time, according to the Bangkok Post and others. The Post, citing sources, said that all the remaining people in the cave network would be rescued on Tuesday.
Various reports said that the 11th boy to emerge is 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungruen, the youngest of the group.
A medic and three members of the Thai navy SEALs who have stayed with the remaining boys in the cave during the rescue will also make the long journey out.
Meanwhile, the Thai prime minister said that the boys had been given anti-anxiety medicine to ease their route to the surface.
Rescuers have now successfully recovered the ninth and tenth boys from the cave, according to reports. They are under medical care. There are now just two boys remaining inside, plus their coach.
Reuters and others reported, citing eyewitnesses, that the boys emerged between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time (5.30 a.m. ET), about six hours after divers started this third rescue mission.
Reuters' correspondent on the ground reported seeing two people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave.
The Thai navy SEALs confirmed on Facebook that the ninth boy emerged at 4:06 p.m.
Rain overnight had increased fears of delays, but rescuers have again confounded expectations by recovering the boys faster than anyone had anticipated.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Thai government released an image of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha meeting relatives of the trapped boys.
Rescue operations resumed Tuesday to save members of the boys' soccer team still left in a flooded cave.
Thai officials have confirmed that a third mission is underway to rescue the five remaining members of a soccer team trapped in a flooding cave complex.
Former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is leading the rescue, said that 19 divers went back into the cave Tuesday morning to retrieve the four boys still inside and their 25-year-old soccer coach. Barring any "unusual condition," he said, "all five will be brought out at the same time today."
A doctor and three Thai navy SEALs who have been looking after the trapped team inside the cave will also come out, he said.
Meanwhile, senior Thai health officials said that the eight boys who have already been rescued are generally healthy and recovering.
"All eight rescued boys today are in good health, none have a fever," Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, permanent secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, told reporters Tuesday. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out."
The four boys rescued in the first mission Sunday are now able to eat solid food, he said, and have been able to see family members through a transparent barrier. At least one of the boys appeared to have a lung infection and another was admitted with a slowed heart rate, he said, but both have improved.
All eight have shown signs of infection, said health ministry Inspector General Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, and they will likely remain hospitalized for at least a week.
The eight boys who have so far been rescued from the cave are thought to be in good health, Thai health officials have said.
"All eight are in good health, no fever," permanent secretary of the public health ministry Jesada Chokedamrongsuk said at a press conference on Tuesday. He added that doctors believed their mental health was also believed to be in a good state.
The 12 boys and their coach went missing on June 23, and have spent more than two weeks deep underground in cramped, dark conditions with limited oxygen.
The eight boys who have so far been rescued have been treated for dehydration and monitored for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their ordeal.
They have been advised to wear sunglasses for at least two weeks because their eyes have become accustomed to the extreme darkness.
When they arrived at the hospital on Sunday and Monday, one boy had a low heart rate, and several had low temperatures, although health officials said they have all now recovered.
All eight boys have been given X-rays and blood tests, and two have been treated for lung inflammation.
While they were initially given only energy gels and instant food to eat, the boys are now able to manage food that's easy to digest.
Family members will be allowed to visit the boys, who have been cleared of signs of infection, but as a precaution they will not be able to come within 2 meters of them.
They will remain in the hospital for observation for seven days.
A third rescue mission has begun, and it is hoped that the remaining four boys and their coach will be freed from the cave during the course of Tuesday.
Thai officials in charge of the rescue operations confirmed that four boys were retrieved Monday, bringing the total of rescued children to eight.
Four boys and their adult coach remain trapped in the cave, rescue operations chief Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters during a press conference Monday.
Narongsak said that all eight of the rescued boys remain in hospital and are doing well.
The rescue operations chief also said that the team was able to shorten the amount of time on this second retrieval mission thanks to more than 100 volunteers, including 18 international divers, per the Guardian.
They plan to resume operations tomorrow. Narongsak did not confirm whether they plan to rescue all five left in the cave on Tuesday.
The Thai Navy SEALs have confirmed that the seventh and eighth children have now emerged alive, as the cave rescue continues to outpace expectations.
The SEALs listed the boys who have been freed so far in a Facebook post, although the authorities have yet to confirm their identities.
CNN cited eyewitnesses who said the boys were taken to an on-site field hospital, while the Guardian and others also confirmed with sources.
English language Thai news outlet Khaosod English reported that the seventh boy emerged from the cave at 6:30 p.m. local time and the next one at 6:59 p.m.
It is expected that these will be the final rescues today and that the operation will resume on Tuesday. Sunday's operation ended when the rescue team ran out of oxygen canisters.
Now just four boys and their coach remain trapped in the cave network. It was originally feared that a rescue could take months due to rising water levels.
A sixth boy has been rescued, according to reporters on the scene — this means half of the Wild Boars soccer team has now been rescued, but six boys and their coach remain trapped.
The Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald confirmed with sources on the ground that the two boys rescued on Monday had been transferred to a field hospital, before being taken to the hospital in Chiang Rai.
Thai authorities are still being cagey about confirming details of the operation, and there has been no confirmation of Monday's rescue so far.
The Thai prime minister is expected to make a visit to the site this evening, but some reports have suggested that the visit has been delayed to avoid interfering with the rescue.
Meanwhile, the rescued boys have yet to be reunited with their families, something that could happen later tonight.
Dr. Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, from Thailand’s health department, told the Kom Chad Luek newspaper that it should be possible for them to see their relatives after some tests have been carried out, but there can be no touching.
"Visitors will only be allowed to meet and talk to the patients. No hugging or touching and they need to leave a one to two meters' distance from the patients until the results of their blood tests come back," he said.
A fifth boy has been rescued from the network of caves, according to multiple media reports.
CNN, Reuters, and local media reported that the fifth boy emerged at around 4:45 p.m. local time.
This latest rescue attempt began at 11 a.m., meaning today's rescue was around an hour shorter than the operations on Sunday, in which four boys were saved.
Reuters reported that rescue workers at the scene were seen carrying someone on a stretcher into an ambulance. An ambulance was seen leaving the cave site shortly after 5 p.m.
A new rescue attempt began Monday morning, with the next boys expected to emerge from the cave within a few hours.
Scuba divers have entered the cave complex in order to rescue the next batch of the young soccer players who have been trapped inside for more than two weeks.
Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osatanakorn said in a press conference that divers entered the caves, the second phase of an intricate and arduous operation, at 11 a.m. local time (midnight ET).
"We’re ready 100% and expect everything to be complete faster than expected," he said. "In not too many hours, we will have good news."
Asked about the health of the four boys who were successfully rescued on Sunday, Narongsak said they were doing well in hospital and this morning had requested pad kra pao, a popular spicy Thai dish made with basil.
Sunday's rescues were quicker than anticipated due to lower-than-expected water levels in the caves, which allowed the boys to walk for long stretches.
Meanwhile, Narongsak complained during the press conference that one media outlet had flown a drone above the cave site and had been broadcasting scenes live on Facebook, while another had been listening in to emergency service radio channels.
The boys will be rescued in groups of four, according to Australia's foreign minister.
Scuba divers will attempt to extract the remaining eight boys and their coach in groups of four, according to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, meaning that there will be at least two more missions.
"A lot of planning has gone into it. They will obviously learn lessons from this first evacuation and apply those to the next couple of evacuations," she said in a TV interview Monday morning. "I think they will be bringing them out in groups of four so there will be two more groups plus the soccer coach, of course."
There are currently 19 Australians participating in the operation.
Elon Musk shared a video of divers testing "kid-size" submarines to aid rescue efforts.
Tech mogul Elon Musk has built a "kid-size" submarine that he hopes will aid in the rescue of the remaining boys trapped in the flooded cave network should scuba divers continue to struggle to reach them.
On Sunday, the SpaceX founder tweeted a video showcasing the invention in action in a Los Angeles pool, saying that he was testing the sub after receiving feedback from Thai cave experts. Divers can be seen pulling the small, metallic pod, which employs similar mechanisms used by some of Musk's rockets, across the swimming pool floor.
"Using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull," Musk explained on Twitter. "Light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps. Extremely robust."
The mini sub will be arriving in Thailand in about "17 hours," Musk tweeted, adding that a second, shorter sub is "almost complete."
"According to divers who have made the journey, this is capable of maneuvering through all passages," Musk wrote. "Hopefully useful. If not, perhaps it will be in a future situation."
The engineer also said he was testing other strategies that might help rescuers pull the remaining boys to safety should conventional diving fail to work in the rescue efforts.
"Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks," he tweeted. "Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does."
These dramatic photos show the challenging rescue of the Thai soccer team.
Check out the photos here.
Rescuers will resume operations to retrieve the remaining eight boys and their coach Monday.
Thai authorities confirmed on Sunday that four of the 12 boys stuck in a flooded cave with their coach have been rescued by divers. The first two boys emerged at 5:40 and 5:50 p.m. local time, Narongsak Osatanakorn, governor of the Chiang Rai province, told reporters at a press conference. The third and fourth boys were rescued at 7:40 and 7:50 p.m. local time, he said.
He said the boys were wearing full face masks and rescue divers carried them out through a passage in the cave complex.
Narongsak said rescue efforts will resume in 10–12 hours after rescue teams replenish oxygen supplies and hold another strategy meeting this evening to ensure the safety of the next operation. He said 40 Thai divers and 50 foreign divers are involved.
"We have to ensure that everything, all conditions, are stable as it is today and then we will start the next one," he said at the press conference.
A third and fourth boy have now emerged alive from the cave as the remarkable rescue gathers pace and confounds expectations.
On Facebook, the Thai Navy SEALs said that the third boy was rescued at 7:35 p.m. local time while the fourth emerged at 7:47 p.m. They called the boys "wild boars," a reference to the name of their soccer team.
More pictures emerged showing ambulances speeding away from the cave area — multiple reports said they were taking the boys to a hospital.
While the rescue is ongoing, it's likely that rescuers will take a prolonged break due to the arduous journey, which will slow down the operation's progress. There has still been no official confirmation from the Thai authorities.
The first two boys to be successfully rescued from the cave network have emerged alive, according to multiple reports.
Tossathep Boonthong, head of the local health department, told a Reuters journalist on the scene that two boys had emerged and were being examined. Reporters said two more boys — who are all being rescued in pairs — are expected to come out soon.
One of the boys is reported to be 13-year-old Mongkol Boonpiem. An ambulance was seen speeding away from the cave area with its sirens blaring.
It was thought that the rescue mission would last hours, at least until 9 p.m. local time, but lower-than-expected water levels have allowed the boys to walk along long stretches of the cave, according to reporters who have spoken with rescuers.
This is how expert divers will try to rescue the boys — and what should happen to them when they get out.
An infographic published by the Thai government shows the intricate and claustrophobic detail of the rescue mission, with two expert divers accompanying each boy.
They will have to walk along a stretch of cave, guided by a rope. Some sections are so narrow that oxygen tanks will have to be removed from the divers' backs. This is an advanced skill for even experienced divers — the 12 boys have no diving experience and cannot swim.
This footage taken from inside the caves shows just how difficult the conditions are.
The most dangerous part of the trip has been highlighted as the narrow "T-junction" section around the middle of the complex. If they make it past that, much of the route is then walkable.
Meanwhile, helicopters and ambulances stand by to take them to hospital.
If the boys and their coach are well enough, 13 ambulances will take each of them to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital, roughly 37 miles (about 60 kilometers) away, a trip that will take about an hour, according to Thai news outlet Khaosod.
Should any of them not be well enough to make that trip, they will be taken to an airfield 3 miles (about 5 kilometers) away, where helicopters will take them to an airfield near the same hospital in a fraction of the time.
Bad weather could hamper and delay the daring rescue effort.
The rescue is well underway, with 18 divers slowly making their way to the 12 stricken boys and their coach, but heavy rain could delay or even halt the operation and force authorities to restart pumping out water.
Reporters said heavy rain was pouring on the makeshift media center, located about a mile from the cave site.
"A new storm is coming. If we wait, if it rains, we’ll have to continue pumping out the water again," said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the regional governor who is leading the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, the divers are now thought to have reached the boys and have begun preparing the first of them for the long and treacherous journey to the surface. The boys are expected to emerge in pairs.
Rescue divers began a treacherous, hours-long rescue operation Sunday into a flooded cave where 12 teen boys and their soccer coach have been trapped for two weeks.
Officials told reporters that 18 divers entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex at 10 a.m. to retrieve the boys and their coach.
Narongsak Osatanakorn, a former provincial governor who is leading the rescue efforts, said the earliest the boys would come out was 9 p.m. and that they would all come out gradually, the Guardian reported.
The group, which went missing on June 23, was found alive by divers July 2 on a small ledge above the water in a section of the 6-mile-long Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.
Since then officials have been exploring a series of options, including teaching the boys to dive and trying to drain water out of the cave, to bring the group to safety.
Authorities had said that it could take months for all 13 to be extracted from the cave, but a combination of factors, including the weather, the water level, and the readiness of the team, made Sunday the best day to start the mission.
“Today is the peak of our readiness,” Narongsak told reporters.
Though water levels in the cave have dropped, the journey remains dangerous even for experienced divers.
On Friday, a former Navy SEAL who was laying down oxygen tanks along a potential exit route for the team died when his own oxygen supply dwindled.
Read more here.
—Stephanie K. Baer