A Former Navy SEAL Has Reportedly Died Attempting To Rescue The Group Of Kids Trapped In A Cave

A former Thai Navy SEAL has died after attempting to deliver oxygen tanks to assist in the rescue of 12 young boys and their soccer coach who became trapped in a cave during a heavy flood in Thailand on June 23, The Washington Post reports. 

In hopes of buying the rescuers more time, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan volunteered for a diving expedition to bring oxygen tanks to the cave for divers attempting to bring supplies to the team, but was reportedly unable to complete the mission. While placing the oxygen canisters, Sgt. Kunan lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen and the emergency response team was unable to revive him.

The Guardian reported that Thai Navy SEALs acknowledged the loss early this morning, telling reporters, “His effort and determination will always remain in the hearts of all divers. May you rest in peace and we will accomplish this mission as you had wished.”

According to reports from CNN, rescuers originally believed that conditions in the cave were stable enough that the team would be able to stay there for several weeks —possibly even months — until the floods had subsided and it was safe to rescue them. 

However, in a recent announcement, Thai Navy SEAL chief Rear Adm. Aphakorn Yoo-kongkaew told CNN that this was no longer the case, stating, “We can no longer wait for all conditions (to be ready) because of the oppressive situation," referring to how the oxygen levels in the cave were becoming dangerously low, threatening the lives of those trapped.

At this time, rescuers have taken a step back to regroup before continuing their efforts, hoping to quickly develop a plan that will allow them to rescue the trapped team without risking further lives. With over 1,000 volunteers currently aiding the operation, according to the BBC, officials hope that they will be able to execute a safe and successful rescue without experiencing further losses.