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Thai cave rescue: a timeline

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Thai authorities began on Sunday a dramatic operation to rescue 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded Thai cave, where they have been trapped for more than two weeks.

The group was found alive following a gruelling search by divers, who are now working to free the youngsters.

With fresh monsoon rains due, rescuers warn the window of opportunity to evacuate the boys is "limited".


Here is a timeline of the efforts to find and free the group.

- Saturday, June 23 -


The youngsters, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach enter the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand during heavy rains after football practice.

They are reported missing by a mother after her son does not come home that night. Local officials find bicycles locked to a fence and shoes and football boots close to the entrance.

- Sunday, June 24 -


Park officials and police find handprints and footprints believed to belong to the boys. Relatives start to keep a vigil outside the cave.

- Monday, June 25 -


Thai Navy SEAL divers enter the cave searching for the boys. Makeshift shrines are set up for parents to pray and make offerings as heavy rains continue.

- Tuesday, June 26 -


Divers reach a T-junction several kilometres inside the cave but are forced back by rushing floodwaters that clog a narrow crevice near an elevated air pocket called "Pattaya Beach", where the boys are believed to have retreated.

- Wednesday, June 27 -


A team of more than 30 American military personnel from the US Pacific Command arrive, including pararescue and survival specialists.

They are joined by three British diving experts who enter the cave but quickly retreat in the face of heavy flooding.

- Thursday, June 28 -


The underwater rescue is temporarily halted after downpours bring fast-moving floods inside the cave.

Water pumps are shipped in to drain the rising, murky floodwaters and drones are dispatched to help find new vents in the cave roof.

- Friday, June 29 -


Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha visits the site, leads a meditation and jokes and cooks with relatives, asking them not to give up hope.

- Saturday, June 30 -


A break in the rain allows divers to reach further inside the cave but they are still a long distance from where the boys are believed to be.

- Sunday, July 1 -


Divers inch further into the cave, as an operating base is set up inside and hundreds of air tanks and other supplies are pulleyed in.

- Monday, July 2 -


Finally, a miracle: the 12 boys and their coach are found alive late Monday evening about 400 metres beyond Pattaya Beach.

Crowds at the teeming rescue site cheer the good news, but attention soon turns to the difficult task of getting the boys out safely.

- Tuesday, July 3 -


Much-needed food and medical supplies -- including high-calorie gels and paracetamol -- reach the boys as rescuers prepare for the possibility that they may remain in the cave for some time.

- Wednesday, July 4 -


Officials say the group are being taught how to use diving masks and breathing apparatuses. Teams pump out water around the clock as more rain is forecast for the days ahead.

- Thursday, July 5 -


In a sign of increased urgency, authorities say expected rains may force a complex rescue quicker than first thought. A team of bird's nest collectors scour the mountainside in search of new openings into the cave roof.

- Friday, July 6 -


Tragedy strikes: a diver helping to establish an airline to the boys dies after passing out while returning from the chamber.

Saman Kunan's death raises serious doubts over the safety of attempting a rescue through the cave's cramped and waterlogged passageways.

Thailand's Navy SEAL commander says oxygen levels inside have dropped. He warns the window of opportunity to free the youngsters is "limited", in the first official admission that the rescue cannot wait out the monsoon rains.

- Saturday, July 7 -


Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn says it is "not suitable" yet to have the boys dive to safety.

A scrawled message emerges from the team's coach, offering his "apologies" to their parents.

The head of the rescue mission says more than 100 vents are being drilled into the mountainside in a frantic bid to reach the boys.

- Sunday, July 8 -


Authorities announce that, with more heavy rain expected soon, the extraction operation has begun.

Thirteen "world class" foreign divers and Thai Navy Seals enter the cave as the rescue begins.

They say the first boy is expected out at 9pm (1400 GMT) but that the operation would take two to three days to complete, and that the weather would also play a role in the timeframe.

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Muslim Global: Thai cave rescue: a timeline
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