MAE SAI — A day-by-day look at the ordeal of 12 boys and their soccer coach, who were trapped deep inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks:

June 23

Bicycles left by a group of boys and their coach who went missing line the entrance to a cave, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai. Photo: Tassanee Vejpongsa/ Associated Press

After a morning practice, 12 members of the local Wild Boars youth soccer team bicycle with their 25-year-old coach to the Tham Luang Nang Non cave to explore, when heavy rains begin. When none of the boys return home after dark and cannot be contacted, parents report them as missing. Their bicycles are found parked and locked at the cave entrance as a search begins at about midnight.

 

June 24

A pair of soccer shoes were found left next to bicycles from a group of missing boys at the entrance of a deep cave in Chiang Rai. Photo: Thai News Pix via Associated Press

Search and rescue teams comprising local authorities, police and rescue workers find soccer shoes and backpacks left behind by the boys near the cave entrance.

 

June 25

Relatives of 12 young football team members and their coach pray for their rescue after going missing in a large cave, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. Photo: Sakchai Lalit/ Associated Press

Thai navy SEALs join the search effort. As the search expands, handprints and footprints thought to belong to the boys are found farther from the cave entrance. Parents holding a vigil outside begin prayer sessions.

 

June 26

Rescue divers search Tham Luang Nang Non on June 29. Photo: Thai NavySEAL / Facebook

As the searchers penetrate the cave, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda tells reporters they are seriously handicapped by muddy water that has filled some chambers of the large cave to their ceilings.

 

June 27

The British Cave Rescue Council members from second left, Robert Charles Harper, John Volanthen and Richard William on Wednesday arrive at cave in the staging area as they continue the search for a young soccer team and their coach believed to be missing in a large cave. Photo / Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press

More heavy rainfall stymies search efforts, flooding underground passages faster than water can be pumped out. A U.S. military team and British cave experts, along with several other private teams of foreign cavers, join the operation.

 

June 28

Water pumped out from Tham Luang Nang Non July 1.
Water pumped out from Tham Luang Nang Non July 1.

Efforts begin to drain groundwater from the cave by drilling from outside into the mountain. A search for other entrances to the cave intensifies as diving is temporarily suspended for safety reasons.

 

June 29

Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visits the cave site and urges relatives of the missing not to give up hope. Efforts to drain the cave with pumps make little progress.

 

June 30

Soldiers hold an evacuation drill June 30 near the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press
Soldiers hold an evacuation drill June 30 near the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press

The effort to locate the missing picks up pace again, as a break in the rain eases flooding in the system of caverns and more experts from around the world, including Australia and China, join the rescue mission. In anticipation of finding the boys, an evacuation drill is held to practice how they will be sent to a hospital after leaving the cave.

 

July 1

Rescuers talk each other during a July 1 search operation at the entrance to a cave complex where 12 soccer team members and their coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press
Rescuers talk each other during a July 1 search operation at the entrance to a cave complex where 12 soccer team members and their coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press

Rescue divers advance into the main passageway inside the flooded cave and set up a staging area inside. Thai navy SEALs reach a bend where the kilometer- (half-mile-) long passage splits in two directions.

 

July 2

An image taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal on July 3 shows that Thai boys are with Navy SEALs inside the cave, Mae Sai, northern Thailand. Photo: Thai Navy Seal

Two expert British cave divers locate the missing boys and their coach. They record a video of the boys talking with them.

 

July 3

Thai navy SEALs bring in food and medicine. Videos are released and show the boys taking turns introducing themselves, folding their hands together to wai and saying their names. The boys also say they are healthy.

 

July 4

A total of seven navy SEALs and a doctor are now in place to stay with the boys. Options are discussed about whether the boys should be taken out of the cave with divers soon or kept in place until conditions improve.

 

July 5

The boys continue with diving lessons in case a decision is made to extract them through a route that is partially underwater. The effort to pump out water in increased.

 

July 6

A banner of Smaan Kunan, a former-Thai Navy SEAL diver who died Friday during a mission to resupply the boys with oxygen in the Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave.
A banner of Saman Kunan, a former-Thai Navy SEAL diver who died Friday during a mission to resupply the boys with oxygen in the Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave.

Officials indicate that they favor extracting the boys as soon as possible, fearing further danger if they are forced to stay inside by more rain causing additional flooding. Concern increases about falling oxygen levels inside the cave. A former navy SEAL aiding the rescue effort dies from a lack of oxygen during his mission.

 

July 7

A letter written by the SEALs team caring for the 12 young footballers and coach inside the cave. Photo: Thai Navy SEAL / Facebook
A letter written by the SEALs team caring for the 12 young footballers and coach inside the cave. Photo: Thai Navy SEAL / Facebook

Letters that the boys and their coach wrote to the boys’ parents are made public. Officials suggest that an underwater evacuation will be made in the following few days because of predictions of a rainstorm. However, they say the boys’ diving skills are not yet where they need to be.

 

July 8

The official heading the rescue operation declares that “D-Day” has arrived as he announces the start of the operation to bring the boys and their coach out of the cave. Divers take four of the boys out through tight passages and flooded caverns.

 

July 9

Rescue workers at the scene on Sunday (photo provided by the authorities)

Divers take four more boys to safety during the second day of the rescue operation. This leaves four boys and their coach still inside the cave.

 

July 10

Photo: Ekapol Chantawong / Facebook

On the third day of the rescue operation, divers bring out the remaining four boys and their coach, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks.