It's a race against the clock for the young members of a Thai soccer team and their coach who have been trapped inside a flooded cave for over two weeks.
The boys, who are as young as 11 years old, are members of the Moon Pa — or Wild Boars — soccer team in Thailand.
Following their soccer practice on June 23, the boys and their assistant coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, were hiking inside the cave located in the northern region of Thailand's Chiang Rai Province when it began to flood, leaving them stranded deep inside the cave.
Upon news of the team's disappearance inside the cave, an international rescue effort was underway to rescue the boys. The rescue team included 13 divers from different countries along with Thai NAVY Seals.
On Sunday morning, four of the 12 boys trapped were the first to emerge from the flooded cave. Four more members were pulled out from the cave on Monday, leaving four boys and their coach inside.
As of Tuesday, all 12 boys were successfully rescued as was their coach.
As rescue efforts have now been successful for all of the Thai soccer boys, here are new details regarding the dangerous situation they were in and the mission to get them out.
1. There were warning signs.
— IN THE NOW (@IntheNow_tweet) July 3, 2018
The boys are located in what is known as the The Tham Luang cave. The cave is a vast underground area that is located beneath the Doi Nang Non mountain range and there is only one entrance inside or out.
Due to the dangers of flooding inside the cave, a sign at the cave's entrance warns any visitors to not enter during the region's rainy season, which falls from July until November.
Although technically the boys entered the cave on June 23, the fact that it was on the cusp of July still meant that the threat of rain and flooding was a possibility.
2. It took 10 days to locate them in the cave.
When the boys were finally located inside the cave by the rescue divers, they were three miles from the cave's entrance. Due to the extensive size and numerous passageways inside the cave, it took divers as long as ten days to find the soccer team.
According to officials, it can take months for the flood waters to recede, which means that waiting it out isn't an option and they must be rescued despite the challenging conditions.
3. Four more boys have been rescued.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) July 9, 2018
A total of eight boys from the Thai soccer team have now been rescued.
In addition to the four who were already out on Sunday morning, four more were rescued on Monday morning. Despite additional rain on Sunday night, which was a concern for the rescue team, the next four boys were able to get safely out of the cave.
The group, which consists of thirteen people, now awaits the rescue of the remaining four boys and the assistant coach.
3. They are being treated under quarantine.
— CNN (@CNN) July 2, 2018
Following their rescue, the soccer team members who have emerged from the cave are now being treated by doctors but are said to be in good health.
Because of the health risks associated with their ordeal in the cave, including exposure to animals and diseases, the boys are being treated under quarantine and have not seen their parents yet.
Doctors are monitoring them to be sure that there is no threat of disease to them or anyone they have come in contact with.
4. The conditions inside the cave are highly dangerous.
The urgency of the rescue mission for the Thai soccer team is due to the very dangerous circumstances that those still in the cave are continuing to face.
One of the biggest risks, according to health experts, is a lack of oxygen inside the cave. Although there is some ventilation inside the area where the boys are trapped, one of the Navy Seals in the rescue mission had stated that oxygen levels in the cave are now at just 15 percent.
For reference, the best range of oxygen for breathing is 19.5 to 23 percent.
Dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, and trouble sleeping are some of the effects of lowered oxygen access, but if oxygen rates continue to decline, it will only become worse for the trapped boys.
5. The rescue effort faces difficult challenges
The divers and Navy Seals have been working to get oxygen, medical supplies, and food to the boys inside the cave. Although the goal of getting them out of the cave is the top priority, the mission faces some difficult challenges.
The boys are about three miles inside the cave, which means as much as three hours of underwater swimming from their location until the cave's entrance. Narrow passageways mean that divers will have to remove the air cylinders attached to them and carry them along as they help the boys.
Additionally, an 8mm static rope will be used to guide them throughout the caves and serve as something for them to hold onto as they make their way to the entrance.
6. One of the divers died trying to rescue the boys.
— Joshua Reynolds (@joshjreynolds) July 8, 2018
The deadly risks of the rescue mission have already claimed the life of one of the divers who was trying to rescue the boys.
Samarn Kunan was a former Thai Navy Seal who was volunteering in the rescue mission. On his way out of the flooded cave, Kunan's oxygen supply ran out and he lost consciousness.
Although the rescue team has been working to reduce water levels, the continuous threat of the region's rainy season has made the mission all the more dangerous for not only those trapped but the people working to rescue them.
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native. When she's not writing, Jill enjoys Zumba class, travel, and referencing classic Seinfeld episodes.