Thailand cave rescue: All 12 boys and coach rescued amid monsoon rain

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 10, 2018, 10:17:57 AM EDT

The rescue operation to free a boys' soccer team and their coach stuck in a flooded cave in northern Thailand has come to an end after the successful extraction of the 12 boys and their coach.

Four boys were rescued from the cave as of 7:50 p.m. Sunday, local time (8:50 a.m. EDT), according to the official Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page.

Four additional boys were pulled from the cave on Monday as rescue operations continued into a second day.

On Tuesday afternoon, the final four boys and their coach were rescued from the cave.

The 12 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand on June 23. They became trapped after monsoon rain flooded the cave.

Lowering water levels in the cave, which made the passages easier to navigate, as well as the risk for additional monsoon downpours prompted officials to begin efforts to free the team on Sunday, according to NBC News.

Sunday evening's rescue ended just as another downpour moved through the area.

Thai authorities said that the rainfall did not change the water level in the cave, the AP reported.

Thai resuce AP

In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Saturday, July 7, 2018, Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand.(Royal Thai Navy via AP)

"Each boy was accompanied by two divers and came out of the cave one group at a time," Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters.

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The rainy season in Thailand runs from July through October, elevating the fears that downpours could have further flooded the cave if the rescue was delayed.

Thailand 7/9

The rescue operation was extremely perilous, with divers forced to traverse tight, dark passageways and muddy water. Low oxygen levels inside the cave made the situation even more dangerous.

A former Thai Navy SEAL died after he passed out underwater on an overnight mission and could not be revived, the AP reported on Friday.

Cave July 8

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, on Sunday, July 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The boys practiced wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for their long journey out of the cave.

After being removed from the cave, the boys were taken to a hospital by ambulance or helicopters.

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