Thai Cave Rescue Timeline 2018

Thai Cave Rescue Timeline

Thai Cave Rescue Timeline – A chronology of the rescue of 12 boys and their coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand.


2018 (23rd June)
Twelve boys aged between 11 and 16 years from the Wild Boar football team and their assistant coach, Ekkaphon Chanthawong, visited the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the north of Thailand near the border with Myanmar. They planned to visit for an hour but became trapped when the cave flooded due to torrential rain.
2018 (23rd June)
Parents of the boys became concerned when they had not returned home. Head coach Nopparat Kanthawong tried to phone members of the team and reached one member of the team who had not gone to the caves. He revealed the intended destination of those missing. The boys’ bicycles were discovered at the entrance to the cave and the alarm was raised.
2018 (24th June)
Vernon Unsworth, a British caver who lived in Chaiang Rai went to the cave. After discovering it was flooded, he suggested the Thai authorities contact the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) for assistance.
2018 (25th June)
A team of Thai Navy SEALs arrived at the cave. They entered the cave but had to turn back due to poor visibility and difficult conditions.
2018 (27th June)
BCRC members Richard Stanton, John Volanthen and Robert Harper arrived. They brought with them specialist equipment.
2018 (27th June)
Sniffer dogs were used on the mountain to try to find an alternative entrance to the cave. At the same time drones with heat sensors were flown over the mountain to try to find the location of the boys.
2018 (28th June)
Rescue experts from the US, China and Laos arrived. Expert cave divers from the UK, Australia and Belgium arrived. Pumps were brought in to extract water from the cave.
2018 (29th June)
British divers led a team that laid guide ropes and managed to reach the third chamber. They had to turn back due to worsening conditions caused by very heavy rainfall.
2018 (29th June)
Phra Khuva Boonchum, a famed Buddhist monk from Myanmar, arrived. He led prayer and religious ceremonies near the cave. He told families he believed the group were alive.
2018 (29th June)
Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, visited the cave and spoke to parents of the missing group.
2018 (2nd July)
The weather had improved and the search resumed. British cave divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton found the boys around 4km from the entrance. They were alive and said that the coach had taught the them to meditate to conserve energy. The group were videoed. Guidelines had been laid from chamber three to the boys’ location.
Thai Cave Rescue Map
2018 (3rd July)
Thai divers took food, medicine and warm clothing to the group. A Thai army doctor was also sent in to assess the group’s condition. The doctor and three SEALS remained with the group. Diving oxygen cylinders were stashed in chamber three.
2018 (3rd July)
Discussions began on how to get the boys and their coach out of the cave. The journey to the group’s location took experienced divers around 6 hours due to the poor conditions. The options were narrowed to: teaching the boys to swim through the submerged sections of the cave or taking sufficient food supplies to the group to allow them to survive until the end of the monsoon, around November.
2018 (4th July)
Thai Navy SEAL divers laid cables to the cave to provide light and internet to the boys. They also began giving the boys swimming lessons.
2018 (4th July)
Above ground rescue workers were constructing dams to try to divert water away from the area above the cave. Farmers in the area lost their crops as their fields were filled with diverted water.
2018 (5th July)
It was reported that water levels had reduced slightly. However, concern increased when heavy rain was forecast from 8th July.
2018 (6th July)
Navy SEAL diver, Saman Kunan, ran out of oxygen after delivering oxygen tanks to the T-junction area. His dive partner tried to resusitate him to no avail.
2018 (7th July)
Concern for the trapped group rose as oxygen levels in the cave dropped to 15%. Plans began to deliver oxygen to the cave through cables.
2018 (8th July, early)
The expected rain held off and the authorities cleared the area around the mouth of the cave in preparation for the rescue to begin.
2018 (8th July, 11 am)
The rescue of the group began. Eighteen rescue divers went into the cave including John Volanthen, Richard Stanton, Jason Mallinson, Chris Jewell, Richard Harris, an anaesthatist and Craig Challen. Harris administered ketamine, xanax and atropine to enable rescuers to pull their unconscious bodies through the submerged sections of the cave. Divers were trained to be able to give top up drugs along the route. From chamber three they were transported from rescuer to rescuer or along zip-lines.
2018 (8th July 7pm)
The first boy left the cave. Three more were rescued before low oxygen levels halted the rescue. The boys were taken to the hospital in Chiang Rai.
2018 (9th July)
The expected rain held off and four more boys were rescued.
2018 (10th July)
The remaining four boys and their coach were rescued. The army doctor and navy SEAL divers who had stayed with the boys reached chamber three when the water pumps failed. With water levels rising they had to rush for the entrance and exited the cave safely. However, a lot of rescue equipment had to be abandoned.
2018 (10th July)
All twelve boys and their coach were isolated in hospital to be assessed for any infectious disease they may have contracted in the cave.
2018 (18th July)
The first boys left hospital.
2018 (October)
The Wild Boar football team toured the world to play football and tell their story.
2018 (15th December)
A statue of Saman Kunan was erected near the entrance to the cave.
2019 (December)
Navy SEAL diver, Beirut Pakbara, died from a blood infection contracted in the cave during the rescue mission.


Published Sept 30 2022 @ 2:06 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for Thai Cave Rescue Timeline:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). Thai Cave Rescue Timeline 2018 Last accessed [date]


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