Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Former Thai Navy Seal dies trying to rescue boys trapped in cave

Former Thai Navy Seal dies trying to rescue boys trapped in cave

The high-risk mission to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Thailand faced growing fears Friday that weekend storms could make a complicated rescue nearly impossible.

But authorities said they will wait as long as possible for the soccer team, who have been underground for two weeks, to regain their strength and learn to scuba dive.

Nasan Konkayan, team leader of the bird's nest collectors, said they hiked from the top of the cave to where they believed the boys were stuck below, but could not find an opening. "If the risk is minimum to get them out, then, maybe, we will try".

The fatality raises fears that a rescue mission could be fraught and even deadly for the boys, who have been trapped for almost two weeks. "The Boring Co has advanced ground penetrating radar and is pretty good at digging holes", Musk said on Twitter.

Narongsak said the boys were still healthy and have practiced wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for the diving possibility. He said the oxygen line was also tied to a telephone line that would provide a channel of communication for the team.

"No. They can not dive at this time". Two of them and their coach are in poor health.

The Thai governor in charge of rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave says the cooperating weather and falling water levels over the last few days have created conditions for extraction that won't continue if it rains again. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said in a note given to divers on Friday. "But we can't wait for the rain".

The handwritten letters from the group were handed to British divers on Friday and released on the Thai Navy Seal Facebook page on Saturday. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was later transferred to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.


The diver was identified as Saman Kunam.

In an effort to keep the rest of the group well the Thai SEALS are pumping oxygen into the cave. A video surfaced Friday of him waiting to board a plane from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, announcing proudly that he was going to "bring the kids home". Queue said he wouldn't even always tell his mother when he visited the cave, giving off the impression that the hike wasn't considered particularly unsafe.

Earlier reports suggested that an attempt to free the 12 boys and their coach would be made today, but the governor denied these rumours.

Getting the boys out of the flooded cave system will require outfitting them with diving gear, but some of the children trapped in the cave are as young as 11, and none of them can swim, Live Science previously reported. "If it reaches a certain level, it could harm our body, no matter how much oxygen there is in the air", Osottanakorn said.

But he added a significant rider - that if the forecast heavy rains arrived, diving teams would attempt to pull the boys out rapidly.

The former Thai navy Seal succumbed to lack of oxygen while delivering supplies.

"We are at peak readiness".

Thai officials had been leaning in their public statements toward a quick underwater evacuation because of fear that access to the cave could soon close again because of seasonal monsoon rains expected this weekend. Queue said he had visited the cave four times this year, always with their coach.

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