A former Thai Navy SEAL has died while trying to rescue the team of young footballers trapped in a cave in Thailand.
Saman Kunan, 37, died due to a lack of oxygen in the tunnel, said Commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew.
Kunan was trying to reach a cavern set up as a command centre 1.2miles inside the cave system when he ran out of air at 2am local time.
He was returning to the centre after placing oxygen tanks through the cave’s underground network.
Yookongkaew said the rescuer was working in a volunteer capacity to help the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach.
A diving partner tried to revive Kunan but was unsuccessful.
His body has been sent to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and will be flown to his hometown in Roi Et for a royally-sponsored funeral, the Thai king announced.
Kunan’s final Facebook post was a picture of him proudly posing with his comrades at the mouth of the Than Luang cave.
A huge operation is underway at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, where dozens of Thai Navy SEALs and international experts are attempting to find a way to get the boys out.
Rescuers have been examining ways to rescue the boys, including fitting them with full-face oxygen masks and accompanying them on a long, dangerous swim through the tunnels.
However, the death of an experienced diver in the cave system underlines the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food.
It comes as officials warned the window of opportunity to free the youngsters is now ‘limited’ as the throng of soldiers, engineers, paramedics and other volunteers at the site swelled to 2,000.
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Source: Daily Mail