All 12 Thai Soccer Players and Coach Rescued

The Thai SEALs have completed an amazing rescue effort with success.

AP/ESPN (“All soccer players, coach out of flooded Thailand cave“):

Thai navy SEALs say all 12 soccer players and their coach have been rescued from a flooded cave, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks.

The SEALs posted on their Facebook page Tuesday that the rescue operation was successful, after earlier posting that the first player of the day was out of the cave at 4:06 p.m. local time (5:06 a.m. ET).

A medic and three Thai navy SEALs had stayed with the boys on a small, dry shelf deep in the flooded cave and are due to come out as well.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn had said earlier Tuesday that the day’s effort might take longer than the previous two rescue missions, but the final four players and coach were out of the cave within 10 hours of the operation’s start. The first day took 11 hours.

Heavy rains in the morning cleared during the day, a reassuring sign for rescuers who feared monsoon rains could imperil the rescue.

The eight boys brought out by divers over the previous two days are in “high spirits” and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players, a senior health official said.

Great news. Considering that as recently as last week some experts believed it could be months before conditions were suitable for the rescue, it’s truly remarkable that the SEALs were able to complete it so quickly. Even a couple of hours ago, the announced plan was to try and get four more people out today, leaving one person, presumably the coach, for another time.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Guarneri says:

    Amazing. And great news for them and their families.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Beyond amazing. I have experience with cave rescues (nothing like this) and can say unequivocally this was the most complex I have ever read of. When I read they were going to bring them out I was certain there would be fatalities. Never been happier to be wrong. They made a plan and executed it to perfection. Anything less than perfection would have been fatal.

    Now we await the last to come out. After a week underground and so close to the end, they have to deal with Entrance Fever in addition to all the other dangers. It’s not over yet.

  3. CSK says:

    Wonderful news. And take a moment to remember Saman Kunan, the retired Navy Seal who volunteered to bring the boys and their coach out of the cave, and died in the process.

  4. Hal_10000 says:


    I don’t have any experience but I thought the same thing: that trying to swim them out would end in tragedy (beyond the death of Mr. Kunan). I have rarely been happier to have been wrong. What a great effort!

  5. Franklin says:

    I’ll tell ya, it feels good to have a story like this in the news. I hope their health recovers quickly. And, as CSK pointed out, an extra salute to Saman Kunan.

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..It’s not over yet.

    A few hours ago when I first heard that all the trapped spelunkers had been rescued the news report stated that four of the divers were still in the cave.
    Is there more recent information on their status?

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:…Just heard that a medic and three Navy Seals who had accompanied the boys have been evacuated.

  8. mattbernius says:

    Thank you for posting that reminder. Admittedly, I haven’t been tracking this closely, but it seems to me that Mr. Kunan’s death has been a bit under reported.

    It’s amazing to hear about the tactical complexity of this rescue. It speaks to the professionalism of all involved that this went as well as it did.