Thai Cave Rescue: 4 Boys Saved, 8 More And Their 25-Year-Old Coach To Go
Many Singaporeans were heartened to hear that 4 boys stuck in the Tham Luang cave complex, were rescued on Sunday (8 Jul).
But the perilous second leg of this rescue is only just beginning.
8 more boys and their 25-year-old coach remain in the cave complex. And today marks Day 16 of their ordeal.
Here’s a quick recap on the nerve-wrecking operation.
Replenishing oxygen tanks takes 10-20 hours
Why is the operation paused?
The rescue mission chief has stated that the replenishing of oxygen for air tanks and within the cave takes anywhere from 10-20 hours.
But the rescue attempts will have to commence soon, due to late night showers, and a looming thunderstorm ahead.
4 boys rescued, now in hospital
Heartening pictures and video clips of the four boys post-rescue are making their rounds around social media.
Through the collective effort of 90 divers from all over the world, they can now breathe a little easier, as they receive much-needed medical attention.
Let’s take a look at a brief timeline of their incredible journey to the surface.
Timeline of events
23 Jun (Sat) – A team of 11-16 year old soccer players and their 25-year-old coach make their way into Tham Luang cave after practice. After heavy monsoon showers that night, a mother reports her son missing. Officials find abandoned bicycles and the boys’ belongings near the cave’s entrance.
24 Jun (Sun) – Relatives of the boys start camping outside the cave, after handprints and footprints are found.
25 Jun (Mon) – Thai Navy SEAL divers enter the cave to search for the boys. A makeshift shrine is set up for prayers as heavy showers do not subside.
26 Jun (Tues) – Divers encounter a ‘T-junction’ within the cave, and are forced to turn back due to rising floodwaters. Boys are believed to have retreated into a narrow crevice, deep within the cave.
27 Jun (Wed) – Experts calculate that the journey to reach those trapped takes about 5-6 hours for a trained Navy SEAL diver. International diving personnel join the rescue effort:
- 30 American military personnel (US Pacific Command)
- 3 British diving experts
28 Jun (Thu) – Rescue attempt is thwarted by heavy downpours and fast-moving floods within the cave. Water pumps are used to drain waters, while drones users search for alternative ways to enter the cave from the roof.
29 Jun (Fri) – General Prayut visits relatives of trapped boys onsite to reassure them.
30 Jun (Sat) – Better weather conditions allow divers to extend their trip, but they remain far from where the boys are.
1 Jul (Sun) – Operating base containing air tanks and supplies set up further into the cave.
2 Jul (Mon) – 12 boys and their coach are miraculously found alive within the cave on late Monday evening. They are 400m beyond ‘Pattaya Beach’ – a narrow crevice near an elevated air pocket – than initially believed.
3 Jul (Tues) – Food and medical supplies, like high-calorie gels and fever medicine, are delivered to the boys. Experts estimate that months may be required to extract the boys from their predicament.
4 Jul (Wed) – Divers teach boys how to use diving masks and breathing apparatuses. Weather forecast remains grim, as efforts to pump water out of the cave continues.
5 Jul (Thu) – Despite the risks, authorities push through with a complex rescue plan, as expected heavy thunderstorms force their hand. A volunteer team of bird’s nest collectors scour the mountainside to look for openings on the cave roof.
6 Jul (Fri) – Tragedy strikes, as an ex-Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan passes away due to “lack of air”, on a return trip from the chamber. Due to dropping oxygen levels within the cave, the rescue team decides to take swift action before monsoon rains hit, or risk stalling the operation for a few months.
7 Jul (Sat) – Boys and coach’s handwritten letters are revealed via Thai Navy SEAL’s Facebook page. 100 vents are drilled into the mountainside to reach the boys.
8 Jul (Sun) – Rescue operation commences, due to heavy rain forecast. 13 divers, foreign and local Navy SEALS enter the cave to begin the attempt. Each boy is accompanied by two divers in pitch darkness, to dive through chilling cold waters and narrow passageways.
4 boys make it out of the cave. 3 are airlifted out via helicopter, while a 16-year-old went to hospital on an ambulance. They are all are currently receiving medical treatment.
- Note, Prajak Sutham (14)
- Mark, Mongkol Boonpiam (13)
- Tern, Nattawut Takamsai (14)
- Night, Peerapat Sompiangjai (16)
Operation is placed on hold, as 8 more boys and their coach remain in the cave complex. Refilling the oxygen tanks and ensuring the cave complex’s conditions are suitable will take 10-12 hours.
It is rumoured that the fifth and sixth boy are in chamber 3 of the cave complex, having not completed the journey.
2-3 more days are expected to complete the rescue, in the same way.
9 Jul (Mon) – Rescue mission is expected to resume ‘soon’, with the same team as before. As of 8.30am’s update, the mission will commence in 10-12 hours, which probably means a 6.30pm start time at the earliest.
All the best to the rescue team
We’ll be updating this thread as soon as information comes in.
In the meantime, do keep the rest of the rescue team in your thoughts.
They can also look forward to watching the World Cup final live in Russia on 15 Jul, if circumstances allow for the trip.
Yes, they’ve received an invitation from the FIFA president himself.
With the whole world rooting for them, we hope their ordeal will finally be over in approximately 48 hours time.
Featured image from YouTube.