One Navy SEAL Dead, Desperation Sets in to Save Boys Soccer Team Trapped in Cave

July 06, 2018Jul 06, 2018

With time running out, rescue teams are scrambling to find a way to rescue the boys soccer team still trapped in a cave in Thailand.

A former Navy SEAL diver died trying to help in the rescue efforts. According to ABC News, he passed out from a lack of oxygen while trying to transport oxygen canisters to the children. 

“Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission,” said SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew.

The diver was 38-year-old Saman Kunan. He was working as a volunteer with the recovery efforts. Since 2006 he had worked as a patrol officer at an airport before retiring.

A Facebook post described him as “a very capable SEAL and a triathlete who liked adventure sports.”

“Although he resigned from the unit, he still loved and had a connection with all the SEALs. … Even the last part of his life, 1st Petty Officer Saman left us and this world while working with the SEAL brothers who are also trying to go forward and complete the mission as planned.”

The team and their coach have been trapped in the cave since June 23rd. With more rains forecast, conditions could worsen, making the recovery effort more complicated and dangerous.

The death of a highly-skilled SEAL diver highlights how difficult the rescue effort is. One plan is to have the boys dive through water using scuba gear, even though some of the boys have never learned to swim.

"The environment inside the cave is challenging," Yookongkaew said. "We can no longer wait for all conditions [to be met] because circumstance is pressing us. We originally thought the boys can stay safe inside the cave for quite some time, but circumstances have changed. We have limited amount of time."

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