Twelve young football players of Moo Pa Academy team and their coach Ekapol Chanthawong went inside Thamluang cave in Tambon Pong Pha district of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district for a sightseeing trip on Saturday (June 23) afternoon.
They were later believed too have been trapped inside the cave in the Thamlung-Khun Nam Nang Non National Park.
The following is the timeline of the incident.
June 23, 2018
10.42am: Coach Ekapol Chanthawong posted on his Facebook page a 5-minute video of live training of the football team.
3.00pm: Park officials, before closing the park’s office, spotted 11 bicycles left in front of the cave entrance.
5.00pm: The parents of one of the football players called their son on the phone. They learned that their son and friends were inside the cave.
9.30pm: Siam Ruam Jai Mae Sai Foundation was informed by the chief of Ban Chong that a number of young footballers aged 11-16 went missing in the cave.
10.00pm: 191 radio center of Mae Sai police was informed that a number of footballers had gone missing in the cave. A police patrol from Tambon Pong Pha was dispatched to the scene.
June 24, 2018
1.00am: Siam Ruam Jai and Samakom Sirikorn rescue teams went into the cave with rope and oxygen tanks.
3.00am: The rescue teams withdrew from the cave. They found inside the cave 12 pairs of sandals and a number of backpacks at a spot inside the cave.
3.30am: The two rescue teams held a joint meeting with administrative officials, national park officials, police, soldiers and local leaders. The meeting agreed to temporarily stop the search and the rescuers had become tired and the water level in the cave continue to rise.
4.00am: The search was temporarily suspended.
8.00am: Altogether seven rescue teams of the National Parks Department and Mae Sai district went inside the cave against. They planned to pump water out of the cave but could not carry out the plan as the water kept rising.
1.00pm: A team of divers examined the cave, which was about 5 meters underwater. They went for a distance of only 15 meters and decided to withdraw.
6.00pm: Prachan Meeboon, the rescue director of the National Parks Department reported that the divers had problems. They contacted the navy to send a Seal team of 16 frogmen to join the search.
June 25, 2018
00.10am: A combined team of 10 soldiers and border patrol police went into the cave.
00.30 am: a Seal team of 16 frogmen traveled from U-Tapao International Airport
00.40 am: a rescue team of 3 from Mekhong Riverine Unit Headquarter (MRU.) joined the search
01.45 am: The Seal team arrived at Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI).
02.00 am: A set of Seal
02.45 am: The Seal team split into 4 groups, the first group went into the cave jointing the previous rescue team.
08.30 am: The Seal team blasted the sand out of an underwater passageway and able to access the other side of the cave which expected that the missing group will be at this point. However, they had found no sign of the missing group.
10.00 am: Diver team dived into 5 meter-deep water and found the entrance to the main hall with 7 kilometers long leading the end of the cave. Footprints of the missing team have been found but the rescue team haven’t find the group. The search will be continued