4 boys saved from flooded Thai cave: Timeline of Sunday's dramatic rescue operation

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The first boys from a groups trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks have emerged from underground.
A Royal Thai Police helicopter carrying the rescued boys lands at a military airport in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai on July 8, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

CHIANG RAI - Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday (July 8) as divers launched a daring and dangerous mission to free the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground since June 23.

Dubbed "D-day" by the rescue team leader, 13 foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy Seal unit guided the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways.

Here's a timeline of Sunday's rescue mission:

8am local time (9am Singapore time): Authorities start evacuating area surrounding Tham Luang cave for rescue operation

10am: 18 divers enter the cave, 13 foreign and five Thai

10.30am: Spokesman holds press conference, says main obstacles are "time and water", and rules out shafts as a way to rescue boys

10.35am: Mr Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of rescue operation, says rescuers are at "peak of our readiness". Earliest first survivor would emerge is around 9pm. Entire rescue mission is expected to take two to three days

11.11am: Thai Navy Seals post photo of linked hands on Facebook, say they are ready to bring the soccer team home

1.15pm: Roads near Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital closed to traffic

3.30pm: Thai government posts graphic detailing rescue method - each boy to be accompanied by two divers guided by ropes

5.40pm: First two boys emerge from cave

7.05pm: Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai's health department, says two boys are out and being checked at field hospital near cave

7.20pm: Two ambulances and a helicopter leave vicinity of cave

7.35pm: Lieutenant-General Kongcheep Tantrawanit says four boys to walk out soon

7.40pm: Third boy emerges from cave

7.50pm: Fourth boy emerges

8.50pm: Mr Narongsak holds press conference, confirming four boys have been rescued and are in hospital. Next operation to begin "in the next 10 hours, or less than 20 hours", he says, to allow rescuers time to prepare, including bringing in new oxygen tanks.

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