CHIANG RAI: Four more boys were rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand on Monday (Jul 9), bringing the total number evacuated so far to eight.
They are among the 12 boys and their football coach who had been trapped there since Jun 23. Five more people remain trapped in the cave complex.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
- Today’s operation took nine hours – two hours quicker than yesterday’s mission.
- Today’s evacuees are in better condition than the four who were taken out yesterday.
- The remaining five in the cave are still in good condition as well, according to the doctor.
- The operation will resume on Tuesday – but whether they manage to get all five out will depend on tonight’s planning and preparation.
10.55pm: No – the first four boys have yet to eat the pad krapow (spicy pork basil) that they asked for, but they’ve been able to eat regular food, Narongsak says.
10.53pm: The health of the remaining five still left stranded in the Tham Luang cave is “still good”, said mission chief Narongsak.
10.50pm: Prime Minister Prayut is considering hosting an event to thank foreign rescuers once the operation concludes, say authorities.
Rescuers are resting and are preparing for the next evacuation.
There should be nothing to worry about, they add.
10.46pm: The four boys rescued today are in “better condition” than the four evacuated yesterday, said mission chief Narongsak.
10.43pm: “We ask the God of Rain for just three more days, so all the ‘Wild Boars’ can come out of the caves to see the world.”
Thai authorities are hoping it would not rain during the rescue operation so that they can speed up the evacuation process.
10.39pm: Today’s operation went smoothly, said the third region army deputy commander.
The next phase “will depend on all conditions”, he added.
10.34pm: Mission chief Narongsak confirmed that four boys were evacuated safely on Monday and taken to the hospital.
“We have helped four more children today.”
Today’s operation took about nine hours, faster than yesterday’s, he said at the press conference.
More than 100 rescuers including 18 divers were involved in the operation.
10:03pm: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits the cave to inspect the rescue operation and met with Thai SEAL officials and other rescue teams involved in the mission.
This incident should be a lesson and should never happen again in Thailand, he said.
9:46pm: While we wait for official confirmation that rescue operations have stopped for the evening, here’s a look at the 12 boys and their football coach who found themselves trapped in Tham Luang cave complex.
9.25pm: Thailand’s Navy Seals confirm that a total of eight people have been rescued from the cave complex.
8.00pm: Another person is stretchered out from the cave complex, Reuters says. If confirmed, this would make him the eighth person rescued.
7.36pm: Two more people have been carried out of the cave complex on stretchers, Reuters says, citing its witness.
So far, no official word on any of today’s evacuees – but if the latest developments are confirmed, a total of seven people will now have been rescued from Tham Luang.
6.19pm: A helicopter was seen flying past the Tham Luang media centre, opposite the cave complex.
Still no confirmation on any evacuees from the rescue mission chief, though.
6.03pm: A fifth boy – the first in today’s operation – has been rescued from Tham Luang cave, says Reuters citing a Royal Thai Navy official.
5:41pm: As we wait for further updates, here’s a look at some of the challenges that divers are likely facing in the cave as we speak.
5:38pm: First person out in today’s operation? Rescue workers were seen carrying a person on a stretcher away from the cave complex to an ambulance, Reuters says, citing a witness.
However, this has not been confirmed by officials.
4.42pm: Policemen are seen patrolling the road leading to Tham Luang cave area as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave.
4:18pm: At the press conference, the mission chief also touched on false news being disseminated yesterday and the unauthorised use of drones flying over the cave site.
These can potentially threaten the safety of the rescue flight route, he says, as helicopters were evacuating the boys to the hospital in Chiang Rai.
It was reiterated that a clear passage along the roads, over the airspace and media channel are all vital for the success of this critical mission.
4:13pm: The weather around the Tham Luang cave area is fine at the moment, but forecasters have warned of heavy rains ahead, noted the mission chief.
Authorities have also said that operation will resume once oxygen is re-supplied along the route, with the right conditions.
The operation will hopefully end between 7pm and 8pm (local time), as conditions appear to be unchanged from yesterday.
4.06pm: JUST IN: The operation to evacuate the remaining 9 people trapped in the cave began at 11am, confirms the mission chief.
He adds that “the same multinational team” is being used to retrieve the reaming boys.
“All the equipment is ready. Oxygen bottles are ready,” he says.
“We hope we’ll have good news in no time.”
4.03pm: Despite the heavy rain yesterday, the rescue team can still handle the situation.
Rainwater, which continues to be drained, has not jeopardised the rescue operation, assured Narongsak.
He added that water levels may have changed in the last 10 hours and that they are trying to identify the source and flow of water into the caves.
3.29pm: The boys are also being kept away from relatives because of infections concerns, says the chief of the rescue mission.
“They (the four) will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections,” Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding doctors will decide on family visits “at a distance or through glass.”
3.55pm: The four rescued boys are doing well in Chiang Rai hospital, says rescue chief Narongsak at a news conference. This morning they were hungry and requested for spicy basil pork.
3.48pm: The rescue operation resumed today, confirmed several officials with knowledge of the mission at the Tham Luang cave.
3pm: Some of the teachers and students at Mae Sai Prasitsart school introduce themselves to reporters.
2.50pm: Teacher at Mae Sai Prasitsart school says the Tham Luang cave complex was open to everyone, and that local children were likely to go to such places.
The teacher did not confirm whether the boys rescued on Sunday were students at the school, but said the school was “happy they’ve been rescued” and looked after.
The teacher adds: “Without the football coach, the situation could have been worse.”
#ThamLuang: 4 survivors evacuated Sunday may or may not be our students but we’re happy they’ve been rescued, looked after – School teacher. Cave complex is open to everyone. Local children likely to visit such places as this is their environment – Teacher https://t.co/iQNTaIihz5
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 9, 2018
“Without the football coach, the situation could have been worse”: Teacher at Mae Sai Prasitsart School on presence of 25-year-old ‘Coach Ake’, who has been trapped in #ThamLuang cave complex with 12 schoolboys https://t.co/iQNTaIihz5
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 9, 2018
2.40pm: Over at Mae Sai Prasitsart school, which six of the boys attend, a teacher tells reporters that special classes will be prepared for the boys when they return to school.
2pm: Relatives of those trapped in the cave watched the news as the first four boys were rescued yesterday.
1.45pm: The rescue operation on day 2 will continue with the same group of divers who brought out the four boys on Sunday, says Thailand’s interior minister.
1.35pm: Meanwhile on Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is showing off his mini-submarine which his team built as a prototype “escape pod” for children. The billionaire has already sent engineers to help in the rescue effort.
1.25pm: An update on the health of the four boys who are out of the cave. A source quoted by Reuters says they are in “not bad” condition, but that doctors are watching for signs of hypothermia.
11.40am: The scene outside the Tham Luang cave complex, as rescue workers and authorities gear up for another day of rescue operations.
10.40am: Meanwhile, netizens are sharing artwork to cheer the Wild Boars and the rescue team on.
10.20am: Gloomy skies in the vicinity of the cave – a reminder of a looming thunderstorm that might complicate the rescue effort. It rained overnight as well. The rescue mission chief had said to expect the replenishing of oxygen tanks to take anywhere between 10 and 20 hours, so it’s a waiting game right now for everyone following the events at Tham Luang.
Giving everyone heart is the first images of Sunday’s rescue operation. The four boys who were ferried out by up to 90 divers from Thailand and all over the world, are now in hospital.
WATCH: First video of the boys rescued from Tham Luang
Here’s a recap of the challenges rescuers face:
The boys and their coach will have to navigate narrow passages and mud-clogged water with almost zero visibility to get out of the cave complex.
Watch our explainer on conditions inside:
READ MORE | Full coverage of the search and rescue operation: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/topic/Thailand-cave-rescue