As it happened: Thai cave ordeal over, all 13 rescued

The world has watched as 12 boys and their football coach have been rescued from Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand. Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and another four rescued been rescued overnight Monday NZ time in a high-stakes rescue operation. The final four boys and their coach were successfully retrieved from the cave today.

These live updates have ended. 

The location of the cave where the boys have been trapped in Thailand near the border with Myanmar.
The location of the cave where the boys have been trapped in Thailand near the border with Myanmar. Photo credit: Newshub

4:15am: Elon Musk has fired back at the Head of the Joint Command Centre coordinating the misson, Narongsak Osatanakorn, after he turned down Musk's offer of help. Musk responded by suggesting Osatanakorn was no expert on the matter and posted an email chain with Richard Stanton, who co-led the dive rescue team.

3:30am: The boys are currently being kept in isolation to avoid infection and so haven't been able to see their parents yet. However, parents of the first four boys rescued have been able to look at their children through a glass wall.

2:55am: FIFA had initially hoped to host the boys at Monday's World Cup final but doctors have instructed them to stay in hospital for at least seven days. Manchester United, the club most of the team support, have offered to host them at Old Trafford though.

2:40am: The remaining Navy SEALs and medic are now out of the cave, meaning no one is in the cave.

2:20am: The Thai rescue story could be made into a Hollywood movie - Read more.

2:05am: The Guardian reports that the last three Navy SEALS and medic are still in the cave and on their way out, with an arrival time unknown.

1:45am: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has tweeted her delight at the successful rescue mission, saying the world will be "saluting the bravery of all those involved."

1:20am: The last of the boys are being air lifted to the hospital.

1:00am: US President Donald Trump has tweeted his congratulations to the divers calling it "a beautiful moment".

12:30am: Manchester United have invited the team to Old Trafford in England.

11:50pm: Thai Navy SEALS confirm all 12 boys plus their coach have been rescued from the cave, bringing to an end a successful mission.

11:10pm: There are reports that the eleventh and most recent boy returned was the the youngest and smallest of the group.

10:30pm: It's been confirmed that an eleventh boy has been rescued, leaving just one more boy and his coach in the cave. It raises hopes of having everyone rescued by the end of the day.

10:20pm: Reuters are reporting an eleventh boy has been successfully pulled from the cave.

9:45pm - It's been confirmed that a tenth person has been rescued.

9:35pm - Reuters reports that a tenth person has been carried out of the cave.

9:25pm - The Guardian has confirmed that a ninth boy has been rescued. 

9:20pm - Reuters reports that a ninth person has been seen being carried out of the cave on a stretcher. CNN has also reported that a ninth person is out, citing a Thai navy source and a member of the rescue team.

This leaves three more boys in the cave along with their coach.

Newshub's Conor Whitten reports that a military source has said two more boys have been rescued. This is yet to be officially confirmed. 

8:50pm - AP reports that an ambulance has been seen leaving the site of the cave. There has not been any confirmation that another person has been rescued. 

6:55pm - The Thai Navy SEALs have posted a jubilant message to their official Facebook page, saying today's rescue effort will take longer than the others but that they will celebrate once all the boys and their coach are out of the cave.

5:35pm - Thai rescue officials have turned down Elon Musk's miniature submarine, which the Tesla CEO had designed and built as a potential method of transporting the boys through narrow cave passageways.

The rescue chief told media that Musk's concept was "good and sophisticated" but not practical for the rescue mission.

Musk has been criticised by some on Twitter who accused him of trying to take credit for the boys' rescue with an invention that wouldn't work.

5:00pm - Thai authorities have confirmed that all five remaining people will be brought out in the third rescue operation, which began at 10am (local time).

This ends the rumours that 25-year-old coach Ekaphol Chanthawong would be left alone in the cave after the last four boys were rescued.

Nineteen divers entered the cave on Tuesday morning in the final phase of the dramatic rescue operation. More will enter the cave as the day progresses.

4:05pm - The Guardian reports that the first four boys to be rescued have been allowed to see their parents - but only from a distance.

Still in quarantine after their ordeal, the boys saw their parents through glass.

Eight boys are currently in hospital undergoing tests and treatment. Doctors say they are healthy and safe in general, although two are being treated for "minor" lung infections.

3:55pm - Information released by the hospital indicates that the youngest boy in the group is still trapped in the cave, along with the 25-year-old football coach.

Doctors have told media the freed boys (who are now undergoing tests for possible infections) are all between 12 and 16 years old. This seems to mean 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng is still in the cave.

The rescued boys are reportedly still wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes after such a long time in the dark cave.

They have not been allowed to watch TV for the sake of their mental health, but have been allowed to eat bread and chocolate - a significant improvement on the diluted porridge they were given when they first arrived. 

3:15pm - Three ambulances have been seen entering the cave site.

3:00pm - Torrential rain falling in the Chiang Rai area will potentially mean a more difficult rescue operation than the previous two, which were accomplished in 'perfect' weather.

Thai officials have not confirmed if the operation will be hampered by the rain, but army commander General Buncha Duriyaphan, who has been involved with the rescue, told media he prayed to the god of rain for three days' reprieve while they get the boys out. 

12:00pm - Billionaire Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company, is in Thailand offering assistance to the rescue mission.

A team of engineers has created a mini-submarine which the boys could sit in while the experienced divers could steer it out of the cave to safety. The mini-submarine was developed by Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel construction company founded by Elon Musk in 2016.

On Saturday, Mr Musk tweeted that he was working with a team from SpaceX to build a "tiny kid-size submarine" to rescue the boys. He wrote, "Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future."

Mr Musk said on Tuesday his mini-submarine is "ready if needed". He said in a tweet the machine is made of rocket parts and is named 'Wild Boar' after the boys' football team. He said the machine will be left in Thailand in case it's needed in the future.

"Thailand is so beautiful," he said. 

10:00am - There is no guarantee the remaining five boys trapped in the Tham Luang cave, including their coach, will be rescued today, rescue chief Narongsak Ostanakorn has said. It all depends on the weather conditions and if the rescue operation can be extended to five people.

So far, groups of four have been rescued from the cave. But with four boys remaining in the cave, along with their football coach, the rescue operation will be quite different from the first two extractions performed on Sunday and Monday.

It's unclear at this stage whether the rescuers will attempt to extract all five of the boys trapped in the cave, or if they will go ahead with their original strategy of extracting four per day.

Narongsak Osatanakorn has said “the plan is designed for rescuing four” and “for safety, the best number is four”. But the former governor of Chiang Rai has said he hopes for "100 percent success" when the rescue operation resumes, suggesting all five boys could be rescued.

9:45am - Messages of support for the boys and rescue teams have exploded on social media with the hashtag #ThaiCaveRescue trending on Twitter. 

09:30am - There has been talk about the boys' football coach facing criminal charges for leading the group into a situation where they became trapped in Tham Luang cave, but the families have said that's not what they want.

"I personally hope he's regarded very well. We've got to consider that this man kept the boys going under the most incredible circumstances. They were down there in the dark on their own for 10 days. He gave up the little food rations he had so the rest could eat," Newshub Correspondent Conor Whitten told The AM Show.

While there has been talk about whether the coach should face criminal charges, authorities have ruled that out saying he couldn’t have known what was going to happen. The families have also said the coach bears no responsibility for this ordeal.

In a letter, coach Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal, CTV News reported. Notes were sent out with divers who made an 11-hour, back-and-forth journey.

"To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents," the coach wrote.

The head coach of the Thai youth football team Wild Boars, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25.
The head coach of the Thai youth football team Wild Boars, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25. Photo credit: Facebook / Thai Navy Seal

8:30am - The key question is how long it will take for the remaining four boys and their football coach to be rescued from the cave. More than half of the group of boys have been rescued but there are stilll four more boys and their coach yet to be saved. 

"The expectation today is that it will proceed much as it has over the last few days. The rescuers will go in at a similar time to try to get the remaining boys out which should be at around 4pm NZ time," Newshub Corespondent Conor Whitten told The AM Show on Tuesday. 

"The boys have been rescued so far in groups of four. The Governor said last night they will have to change the plan if they're trying to get all five of the boys out today. It is possible then, that there might be a further day of rescues in order to get the coach out as well."

It's a difficult situation for the parents who aren’t sure which boys have been rescued yet, Whitten said. But there are a couple of reasons for that. One of the reasons is the mental health of the parents - authorities are trying to protect the parents whose children aren’t out yet. 

Another reason why parents have been kept in the dark is because the children need to be checked for at least 48 hours to make sure they haven’t picked up any diseases. The parents might not even be able to hug or kiss their children when they see them.

7:50am - All signs point to the third rescue attempt happening later today.

"It's early morning here in Thailand, but the conditions at this point are not going to get any better because the rain is coming. Rescuers really want to take advantage of the fact that they have lowered the water level inside that cave enough to make it easy enough to do two successful rescues," CNN Correspondent Matt Rivers told The AM Show.

"The hope is that the third rescue attempt happens later today. That's what they are preparing for and what they are expecting to happen. But we should caution that this is a very fluid situation."

It's expected the next rescue attempt will begin in the late morning or early afternoon (Thailand local time).

The boys' youth has helped them survive and come out reasonably well, Rivers told The AM Show. The rescued boys have gone through an incredible ordeal, and yet, all things considered, they're doing okay.

"We haven’t got specific word from officials on the boys' conditions, but looking at the context, these boys were able to make it out of the cave which is not an easy journey. They at least were physically capable enough to get out of that cave."

7:40am - The missing boys' parents are all at the cave entrance.

CNN Correspondent Matt Rivers told The AM Show on Tuesday there are "a lot of conflicting reports about which kids have been brought out and what the identities of the kids are. CNN has heard a lot of names and we haven’t gone with that because we can't verify that independently."

"We're not sure if the parents know exactly which kids have been brought out. Perhaps some rumours have trickled back to the campsite but we're not sure about that," he said.

"What you're seeing as a result is the parents staying near the cave entrance, which could be due to the fact that they don’t know which children have been brought out, but it's also due to the fact that they have created some solidarity within that group."

The parents are going through a unique situation in the world right now, he explained, that no one except them is going to understand, and because of that they've created a "pretty remarkable bond".

"They've gone through the early stages of this tragedy together, they've gone through the highs and lows, and it does appear that they are not viewing this situation as over whether their kids are out or not, unless all the kids are out."

6:15am - It was reported that eight of the Thai boys are now in hospital recovering after being trapped in Tham Luang cave. They are recuperating after being rescued from the cave in daring rescue operations led by professional British divers. 

The boys are "safe and conscious" Chiang Rai province acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said, who is in charge of the rescue mission. The boys were visited in hospital by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Associated Press reported. 

The second rescue operation on Monday began at 11am local time and took nine hours, which is two hours fewer than the first rescue operation on Sunday. Mr Osatanakorn said the second mission was quicker because there were "more operating personnel" and the rescuers had "more experience" gained from the first operation. 

An image released by officials of the first rescue boys rescued from the cave being rushed into an ambulance.
An image released by officials of the first rescue boys rescued from the cave being rushed into an ambulance. Photo credit: Chiang Rai Public Relations Ofice

3:30am: Rescuers can now operate faster than earlier after air tanks were replaced and guide rope tightened along the exit route.

2:15am: The rescue operation has been called off for the day, with rescuers sticking to their goal of pulling out four boys per day.

1:30am: Thai Navy Seals have confirmed earlier reports that four boys have been rescued in today's operation.

1:00am: CNN reports the rescue operation has ended for the day, leaving a total of eight boys rescued since the operation began yesterday. Four boys and their football coach remain in the cave.

12:35am: Two ambulances, believed to be carrying the sixth and seventh boys, have been seen leaving the cave site.

12:12am: CNN reports an eighth boy has been rescued. 

12:00am: CNN is reporting a further two boys have been rescued from the cave, bringing the total number of boys rescued to seven and leaving five boys plus their coach still in the cave.

11:15pm: The Guardian is reporting a sixth boy has been retrieved from the cave. Thai officials have not confirmed.

10:45pm - A fifth boy has been rescued from the cave, leaving a further seven boys and their coach still inside.

9:45pm - Reuters reports a witness says they saw a person being carried on a stretcher from the cave entrance to a waiting ambulance.

8:35pm - The second lot of boys are estimated to surface between 7:30pm and 8:30pm (local time).  Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn says the strongest members of the remaining group will be selected for the second rescue mission. 

8:10pm - Thai officials have confirmed divers have entered the cave for a second rescue operation. 

Newshub. 

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