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Ex-Navy Seal diver dies in attempt to rescue Thai boys trapped in cave

The accident marks the first major setback for the gargantuan effort which started almost two weeks ago

AFP | PTI  |  Mae Sai 

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

A former military has died after running out of oxygen while assisting in the rescue of 12 boys and their coach trapped inside a cave in Thailand, an said on Friday.

His death highlights the perils of the operation to extract the team from deep inside the waterlogged cave, raising questions about the feasibility of bringing youngsters out the same way.

"A former Seal who volunteered to help died last night about 2 am," Chiang Rai told reporters at the site, calling it "sad news." The diver, identified as Saman Kunont, was coming back from a spot inside the Tham Luang cave where the group were located on Monday when his supplies ran short.

"On his way back he lost consciousness," said Thai Apakorn Yookongkaew, adding that a friend had tried to help bring him out.

"But even though we have lost one man, we still have faith to carry out our work." Asked how the boys could make it out safely if an experienced could not, Apakorn said they would take more precautions with children.

The accident marks the first major setback for the gargantuan effort, which started almost two weeks ago after the "Wild Boars" team went into the cave in after practice.

First Published: Fri, July 06 2018. 10:21 IST