FIVE members of a youth football team have so far been rescued from a treacherous Thai cave — leaving eight other teens and their coach still trapped inside.
They drifted into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand on June 23. Here’s what we know about them.
One of the trapped Thai boys is rushed to a waiting air ambulance to take him for treatment after being rescued from the cave
How many boys are trapped inside Tham Luang Nang Non cave?
A group of 12 youngsters, aged between 11 and 16, plus their 25-year-old coach went in to explore the cave on June 23 after football practice.
But monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.
The first four boys were rescued on July 8 at around 6pm local time, and were taken to a field hospital near the cave.
Shortly before 8 p.m., the Thai Navy SEALs reported on their official Facebook page that four had been rescued.
A second rescue phase began on July 9 and a fifth boy was soon rescued.
Who are the trapped Thai boys?
The boys are all from a youth football team called the Wild Boars.
They come from schools across the Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand.
The first four rescued boys were named locally as Mongkol Booniam, 13, Prajak Sutham, 14, Nattawut Thakhamsai, 14, and Phipat Phothi, 15.
The name of the fifth has not yet been revealed.
Here’s what we know about the boys and their coach.
Chanin Vibulrungruang, 11 (Nickname: Titan) – started playing football aged seven
Panumas Sangdee, 13 (Nickname: Mig) – Wrote to his parents: “The Navy Seals are taking good care of me”
Duganpet Promtep, 13 (Nickname: Dom) – Captain of the Wild Boars, reportedly scouted by several Thai professional clubs
Somepong Jaiwong, 13 (nickname: Pong) – Reportedly dreams of playing for the Thai national team
Mongkol Booneiam, 13 (nickname: Mark) – Described by his teacher as a “very respectful and good child”
Nattawut Thakhamsai, 14 (nickname: Tern) – Told his parents not to worry about him
Ekarat Wongsukchan, 14 (nickname: Bew) – Promised his mother he would help her at the shop once he was rescued
Adul Sam-on, 14 – Member of a volleyball team that came second in the North Thailand-wide tournament. “Face” of the rescue and English-speaker
Prajak Sutham, 15 (nickname: Note) – Described by family friends as a “smart, quiet guy”
Phipat Phothi, 15 (nickname: Nick) – Wrote in his letter he wanted his parents to take him for barbecued food once rescued
Pornchai Kamluang, 16 (nickname: Tee) – Told his parents “don’t worry, I’m very happy”
Peerapat Sompiangjai, 17 (nickname: Night) – It was his birthday the day the boys went missing, and his parents have told him they are still waiting to hold his birthday party
Akkapol Chanthawong, 25 (nickname Eak), coach – Ahead of the rescue, the boys’ coach sent a letter to parents apologising for their ordeal. He wrote: “All the kids are fine. There are people taking really good care of them. I promise I will take care of the children the best I can. Thank you for your support. I’m really sorry to the parents”.
Elite Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died heroically helping the trapped team
Has anyone died?
An elite Navy SEAL rescue diver died on July 5, 2018, during an attempt to save the trapped group.
The Thai hero, named as Saman Kunan passed away after suffering a lack of oxygen as he attempted to swim back through the underground labyrinth after taking essential supplies to the school kids and their football coach.
Local reports claim he died as he lay oxygen tanks along a potential exit route, according to comments made by a SEAL commander.