Thai cave rescue timeline: The dangerous race to bring trapped soccer team home

It’s been more than two weeks since a young Thailand soccer team and its soccer coach became trapped inside a cave they were exploring in northern Thailand. The country’s annual monsoons flooded the cave while they were still inside, prompting a massive search and rescue effort.

On July 10, all 12 players and their 25-year-old coach had been extracted from the cave. The team was pulled out over a three day period.

Rescuers had hoped to have everyone out of the cave by July 10, with the high-risk operation on the final day involving 19 divers. Three Thai Navy SEALs and a medic who have stayed with the boys in the flooded cave will also come out, Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said.

Efforts to rescue the stranded team heightened over the weekend as officials were in a race with coming heavy rains and depleting oxygen levels inside the cave. Workers labored around the clock to pump water out of the cave.

To get the team out, experts have had to guide them, diving through the cave’s dark, tight and twisting passages.

To get the boys out, experts had to guide them, diving through the cave’s dark, tight and twisting passages. The first two groups who were brought out are reportedly happy and in good health. They’ve asked for “khao pad grapao,” a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

Read on for a timeline of the rescue mission since the team became stuck.

July 10

Officials had hoped this would be the final day of rescue efforts. The final four boys and the coach were rescued on July 10.

A total of 19 divers assisted with the rescue operations on Tuesday, Narongsak said.

The conditions of those rescued so far have not been revealed.

July 9

One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped youth soccer players and their coach, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018.  Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted. He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped youth soccer players and their coach. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Four boys were rescued from the cave on July 9, bringing the total saved to eight.

An additional four boys and the 25-year-old coach remain in the cave.

One helicopter carried the sixth and seventh boys to be rescued to a hospital, while the eighth boy was being transported on another helicopter for medical treatment.

July 8

The team is stranded nearly 3 miles from the cave’s entrance.

The first four boys were rescued from the cave on July 8.

The first boy rescued exited the cave at 5:40 p.m. local time, followed by three of his team members shortly after, Narongsak said. The boys traveled 0.62 miles underwater before they reached safety.

July 6

The body of Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy SEAL who died during an overnight mission, is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony at Chiang Rai Airport in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Friday, July 6, 2018. The Thai navy diver working as part of the effort to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave died Friday from lack of oxygen, underscoring risks of extracting the team. (AP Photo)
The body of Saman Kunan, a former Thai navy SEAL who died during an overnight mission, is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony at Chiang Rai Airport. (AP Photo)

A former Thai Navy SEAL died after he ran out of oxygen.

Saman Kunan, who was 38 years old, died early Friday morning after he ran out of oxygen and passed out. Kunan had left the SEALs in 2006 to work at Bangkok’s airport as an emergency rescue officer.

A volunteer with the rescue efforts to save those trapped in the cave, Kunan was replacing air tanks along the route to where the soccer team is stranded in order to replenish the air supply in the cave, The Evening Standard reported.

July 2

Divers located the missing team on July 2 — more than a week after they had disappeared.

June 23

In this July 3, 2018, image taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal, Thai boys are with Navy SEALs inside the cave, Mae Sai, northern Thailand. With heavy rains forecast to worsen flooding in a cave in northern Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach are waiting to be extracted by rescuers, authorities say they might be forced to have them swim out through a narrow, underwater passage. The 13 are described as healthy and being looked after by medics inside the cave.(Thai Navy Seal via AP)
In this July 3, 2018, image taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal, Thai boys are with Navy SEALs inside the cave, Mae Sai, northern Thailand. (Thai Navy Seal via AP)

Twelve young members of a youth soccer team and their 25-year-old assistant coach entered Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after a practice match. They were cut off from exiting the massive cave when a rainstorm flooded the exit.

Fox News’ Benjamin Brown, Melissa Chrise, Edmund DeMarche, Travis Fedschun, Chris Irvine, Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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