Thai cave rescue operation: The final day, as it happened

Thai cave rescue operation: The final day, as it happened

CHIANG RAI: Rescue workers capped an extraordinary mission on Tuesday (Jul 10), successfully evacuating the remaining five members of the Wild Boars football team from Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand.

Rescue commander Narongsak Osotanakorn declared the mission "accomplished", saying the rescuers had "done what others thought was impossible".

The 12 boys and their football coach had been stranded in the complex since Jun 23. 

READ: Meet the Wild Boars and the heroes who helped bring them to safety


  • All 12 boys and their football coach are out of the cave. 
  • Three Navy seals and a doctor, who had been with the boys, are out safely as well.
  • The first eight boys, who were freed on Sunday and Monday, are recovering at a hospital in Chiang Rai, 60km away, but have to be kept in isolation to avoid infection.

10.50pm: Several world leaders have conveyed their congratulations to all those involved in the rescue operation. 

In a tweet, US President Donald Trump said: "Such a beautiful moment - all freed, great job!"

British Prime Minister Theresa May also expressed her delight at the positive turn of events in Chiang Rai, saying: "The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved."

10.48pm: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hails the rescue operation as a "remarkable display of the strength of the human spirit".

"It is an inspiring tale of what different nations and groups can achieve by working together. It was heartening to see so many prayers and suggestions for the Wild Boars’ safe rescue - this saga has touched many around the world," he said.

PM Lee wished a smooth and quick recovery to the 13 rescued, and paid tribute to Thai and international rescuers, volunteers, as well as Saman Gunan, the diver who was killed in the rescue effort.

10.47pm: Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osotanakorn credits "the power of love" for making the rescue mission possible, adding that about 400 organisations had sent equipment to help with evacuation efforts. 

10.45pm: "He is our true hero ... we would like to call him the Tham Luang hero", says Narongsak, as he conveyed his condolences over the death of retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Saman Kunan, who died on his way out of the cave complex after delivering oxygen tanks to one of the cave chambers.

10.36pm: Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osotanakorn confirms that the doctor and the three Navy SEALS who stayed behind to accompany the 13 survivors have safely left the cave complex and are healthy.

In a Facebook update, the Thai Navy SEALS posted a photo of the four men, who were wearing sunglasses and face masks. 

10.30pm: Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osotanakorn tells a press conference that the first boy rescued on Tuesday was brought out at 3pm local time. The first three boys rescued on Tuesday were then sent to hospital at the same time, while the second batch was dispatched an hour later, he said. 

"We've rescued everyone. We've succeeded," he said. 

Narongsak added that the Thai army had sent more than 1,000 personnel to assist in the rescue operation. 

Narongsak prays
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn (C) speaks during a press conference at a makeshift press centre in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on Jul 10, 2018, following the rescue of the twelve boys and their football coach. (Photo: AFP/Ye Aung Thu)

9.58pm: A "clean-up crew" is on site at the cave complex, collecting pipes, ropes and oxygen tanks that were laid out in the past week for the rescue. 

9.39pm: The last boy and coach from the Wild Boars football team have arrived in hospital. 

9.28pm: What is believed to be the last rescue helicopter has left the Tham Luang cave area for the hospital in Chiang Rai.

9.15pm: According to Thai media reports, three members of the Thai Navy Seal team and an army doctor have emerged safely from the cave complex. 

8.12pm: "We are not sure if this is a miracle, science or what. All the 13 Wild Boars are now out of the cave": The Thai Navy Seals on the success of the rescue mission. 

7.58pm: Manchester United have invited the Wild Boars football team and their rescuers to visit Old Trafford. In a Facebook post, the Red Devils said they were "greatly relieved" to hear about the successful rescue of the Thai team.

"We would be honoured to welcome the team from the Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season."

7.50pm: THEY'RE OUT! The Thai Navy SEALS confirm that all 13 members of the Wild Boars football team have been brought safely out of the Tham Luang cave complex. 

Thai cave rescue all 13 wild boars saved

In their Facebook update, the SEALS added that they were waiting to pick up four "frogs" - referring to four Seal team divers, including a doctor - that had stayed behind to accompany the survivors. 

7.45pm: Reuters confirms that the twelfth survivor has been brought out of the cave complex.

7.39pm: The second helicopter has taken off from a heliport near the cave complex and heading for Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

7.19pm: Two ambulances leave the Tham Luang cave complex and head towards helicopters that are parked near the site. 

7.15pm: The first helicopter flies from Tham Luang cave complex towards the city centre, where Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital is located.

7.04pm: Military personnel are stationed around a helicopter parked near Tham Luang cave complex. They are standing near a row of large umbrellas that will be used to shield the ninth survivor as he is transported from the ambulance.

6.30pm: The ninth person rescued from the cave complex arrives at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital. The second helicoper parked near Tham Luang Cave has started its engine in preparation for transporting the tenth survivor.

6.31pm: Navy and official sources confirm that the 11th person has been brought out of Tham Luang cave.

"The 11th is out," a navy source told AFP, requesting anonymity. The source did not confirm if the person was a boy or the 25-year-old coach. 

A provincial Chiang Rai official added "the 11th was taken to a field hospital".

6.13pm: Reuters reports, citing a witness, that an 11th person has been seen being carried out of the Thai cave complex on a stretcher. 

Thailand cave rescue Jul 10 - 6
A Thai military police salutes an ambulance leaving from the Tham Luang cave area on Jul 10, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Ye Aung Thu)

5.56pm: The first ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave complex and is seen heading towards a nearby heliport.

5.50pm: In a Facebook update, the Thai Navy SEALSconfirmed that the ninth boy was brought out of the cave at 4.06pm local time.

"The 9th Wild Boar was out of the cave at 4.06pm. Hooyah!"

5.37pm: A tenth person has been seen carried out of the cave complex on a stretcher, says Reuters citing a witness. AFP confirms that navy sources say the tenth boy has been rescued.

"The 10th is at the cave entrance on the way to the field hospital," a navy official told AFP requesting anonymity. 

A local government official confirmed the rescue while a police source, who also did not want to be named, said "the ninth and tenth were about 20 minutes apart."

The latest rescue raises hopes that all 13 would be out by the end of the day. 

5.14pm: A ninth person has been rescued from the cave complex, Reuters says, citing an official with information about the mission. Speaking to AFP, a police source confirmed that the boy "has been transferred from the cave entrance to the field hospital".

2.05pm: "We will celebrate together finally," the Thai SEAL unit's latest Facebook post says, adding that today's operation will take longer than the previous ones.

1.55pm: One of the rescued boys had an irregular heartbeat and low body temperature, but he is now in better shape. 

12.45pm: Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn is briefing the media; echoes some of what was said by the health official in an earlier media conference at the hospital in Chiang Rai. He said some of the boys asked for chocolate bread as they recovered in hospital

Narongsak added that the operation to extract the remaining five people trapped inside Tham Luang began at around 10am with 19 divers involved.

“Water levels are the same like the last two days," said Narongsak, who added that he was confident that the five people remaining inside the cave could come out “quicker or at least as quick as yesterday”. 

"We plan to bring out four boys and coach," he said, adding a doctor and three Thai Navy SEALS who have stayed with the group since they were found more than a week ago will also leave the cave today.

Narongsak Jul 10 Thai Cave Rescue
Thai cave rescue mission chief Narongsak briefs the media on Jul 10, 2018.

12pm: Meanwhile, it's still raining around the Tham Luang cave complex. Authorities have been worried about rain affecting water levels in the cave and hampering rescue efforts.

A closer look at the pall overhead. Storms are forecast for today and the rest of the week.

Rainy skies over Tham Luang
Gloomy skies Tham Luang on Tuesday (Jul 10). (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

11.45am: The boys in hospital are aged 12-14 - among the youngest in the group, says the Public Health Permanent Secretary at a presser.

We now know that their first words in hospital were "We miss home" and "We're happy".

And no, they will not be going to the World Cup final on Sunday, despite FIFA's invitation.

Health official Jessada Chiang Rai hospital
General of the Public Health Ministry, Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong (L), Dr Jessada Chokdamrongsuk (C) and director of Chiang Rai Hospital, Dr Chaiwet Thanapaisan (R), attend a press conference at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital on Jul 10, 2018.

11.40am: The eight rescued boys are expected to stay in hospital for at least a week. They chatted and laughed with the Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha when he visited them yesterday. Four of them got to see their parents, though they were separated by glass windows, the health official says.

11.30am: JUST IN: Two of the first four boys evacuated from the cave are suspected to have pneumonia, says a Thai health official. All of the four had low temperatures, he tells reporters at the Chiang Rai hospital.

READ: 8 boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, now up to 'rain god'

READ: Boys evacuated on Sunday doing well, says Thai cave rescue mission chief

9am: Elon Musk also posted a video of conditions inside the cave.

8.15am: Meanwhile, American space entrepreneur Elon Musk has arrived at the flooded cave, with his prototype mini-sub in tow. 

He says the "tiny, kid-size submarine" is light enough to be carried by two divers, robust, and small enough to get through narrow gaps.

READ: Elon Musk proposes mini-submarine to save Thai cave boys

8.10am: It rained overnight in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district. Authorities said yesterday that the rain did not affect the water levels in the cave during the second leg of the rescue. But here's hoping the skies hold up for the evacuation of the remaining five people from the Moo Pa football team.

A recap of the challenging conditions rescuers and those trapped face:

The boys and their coach have to navigate narrow passages and mud-clogged water with almost zero visibility to get out of the cave complex.

READ: ‘Daddy and mummy long to see your face’: Letters from parents to Thai boys trapped in cave

8am: Here's a look at who the 12 Thai boys and their coach are:

READ: Day 2 of the rescue operation: As it happened

READ MORE | Full coverage of the search and rescue operation:

Source: Agencies/CNA/nc/zl