A FORMER Navy SEAL has tragically died while trying to rescue a group of boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand.
Authorities confirmed the former Thai Navy SEAL diver, identified as Samam Kunan, 38, from Roi Et in north-east Thailand, was working in a volunteer capacity and died from a lack of oxygen overnight.
He died around 2am on Friday (local time) while on his way back from delivering oxygen to the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach who have been trapped underground now for 14 days.
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Speaking to reporters on Friday, Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Passakorn Boonaluck said “his job was to deliver oxygen [and] he did not have enough on his way back.”
The tragic news comes after it was revealed at least two of the boys and their coach were suffering from severe exhaustion and malnutrition and were not well enough to be removed from the cave.
According to the ABC, the coach has been selflessly sacrificing his share of food to the boys.
A recent break in the weather has allowed rescuers to pump millions of litres of water out of the caves, reducing the level by as much as 40cm, but even so, it’s still too high.
The rescue mission continues.