Search operation timeline

Search operation timeline from Day One
Timeline of the historic search operation which started at about 3 pm on June 23 when an official of Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non national park spotted 11 bicycles parked in the cave entrance and started the probe to look for their owners and then sounded the first alarm which eventually developed into the country’s most challenging and painstaking search and rescue operation ever mounted.
The search operation lasted more than 200 hours until the night of July 2 at about 9.45 pm when the 12 lost boys and their football coach were located by two British cavers on a mound about 400 metres from the so-called Pattaya Beach.

June 23

9.30 pm:  The Siam Ruamjai Mae Sai Foundation was alerted by Bang Jong village head that a group of boys, aged 11-16, went missing in Tham Luang cave.
10 pm:  The 191 radio centre of Mae Sai district police station received a complaint of missing boys in the cave and filed a report to their superiors. A police patrol unit from Tambon Pong Pha was sent to the cave to investigate.

June 24
1 am:  Rescue teams from Siam Ruamjai Foundtion and Sirikorn Association were sent to the cave with oxygen tanks to search for the missing.
3 am:  The search teams got out of the cave after they found twelve pairs of sandals and backpacks on the cave floor.
3.30 am:  A meeting was held among the rescue teams, local administration officials, park officials, military and police personnel and community leaders.  It was agreed that the search should be suspended because water level in the cave was  rising and the search teams were tired.
8 am:  Another search was launched and, this time, it involved seven teams, including divers, from the national park and Mae Sai rescue units.
1 pm:  The divers pulled out after encountering flowing sand and muddy water.
6 pm:  Request was made to the Royal Thai Navy for Navy SEAL team by the rescue chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.  A 16-man SEAL team arrived.


June 25
2 am:  SEAL team launched a search but pulled out afterward due to rising water in the cave.  The Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak ordered water pumps to be installed to drain water out of the cave.
12.05 pm:  Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yookongkaew, commander of Navy SEAL said four frogmen of the SEAL team managed to dive through a flooded passage to a high ground on the other side and found foot and hand prints on the cave floor.

9.30 pm: Governor Narongsak held meeting with rescuers to discuss search and rescue plans.  More equipment, including lighting equipment and water pumps, were brought in to help in the operations.


Photo credit: Facebook – Thai NavySEAL



June 26
2 am:  SEAL team advanced three kilometres deeper into the cave until they arrived at Chamber 4.  The team finally pulled out and search operation suspended due to strong currents, rising water level and narrow passages.
7 am:  One undersea robot and two drones belonging to the King Mongkut Institute’s aviation engineering research centre  were flown into Chiang Rai .

9 am:  SEAL team resumed their search at the spot they covered yesterday.  Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda arrived to observe the operations.

June 27:
3.30 am:  Five big water pumps from Bangkok Metrepolitan Administration were flown into Chiang Rai by an Air Force transport plane.
8.20 am:  A search team was dropped from helicopter on Doi Pha Mee to search for alternative routes into the cave.
11.30 am:  Cave experts, geologists discussed the possibility of punching  holes through cave walls in order to get into the cave.

6.20 pm:  Three British cave divers from British Cave Rescue Council arrived at cave.

June 28
SEAL search team inside the cave pulled to higher ground inside the cave due to rapidly rising water because of relentless heavy rains. More focus was shifted to finding alternative routes at Doi Pha Mee.

June 29

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Tham Luang cave to give moral support to families of the 13 missing and to officials involved in the search and rescue operations as search for cavities on Doi Pha Mee continued while SEAL team with the help of foreign rescuers continued to advance deeper into the cave.


June 30

10am:  An evacuation drill was staged to simulate situation when survivors were brought out of the cave, given first-aid treatment outside the cave before they were to be delivered to hospitals in ambulances.
12 am:  SEAL team and foreign divers managed to arrive at Chamber 3 and were prepared to proceed to Pattaya Beach while efforts to drain water out of the cave were satisfactory with more water being drained out.

5.55 pm:  Governor Narongsak announced good news about draining water out of the cave as SEAL team made preparations to move forward from Chamber 3 to fork junction.

July 1
10 am:  SEAL team and foreign divers moved forward as they laid baseline and placed oxygen cylinders in case other divers and survivors may need.
6 pm:  Public health officials announced an adjustment of evacuation plan by switching to helicopters instead of ambulances in taking survivors to hospitals.
Heavy drilling equipment were airlifted by a helicopter to Doi Phamee for drilling operation.

9.30 pm:  Governor  Narongsak announced that SEAL team managed to reach Chamber 3 for the second time and set up a forward command there.


Photo credit: Facebook – Thai NavySEAL


June 2
SEAL team headed for fork junction from Chamber 3 before proceeding to Pattaya Beach as efforts to drain water out of the cave were progressing steadily after water that flowed into the cave from a creek has been blocked and diverted to other directions.
9.45 pm:  There were words from rescuers inside the cave that the lost boys and their coach had been found alive and safe by a British diver about 400 metres away from Pattaya Beach.

10.20:   Governor Narong announced the good news at a hastily-held press briefing.


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