News & Opinion | July 6, 2018 9:05 am

Former Thai Navy SEAL Dies Trying to Help Trapped Boys

Samarn Kunan was delivering oxygen tanks.

cave
Dirt is moved to absorb water at a pumping site at Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for the 12 boys and their coach trapped at the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

A former Thai Navy SEAL has died while trying to help a soccer team and their coach who are trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex. Diver Samarn Kunan, 38, died while delivering oxygen tanks when he ran out of his own oxygen. He had been placing the tanks throughout the caves in an attempt by Thai authorities to eventually ferry the boys out using scuba gear, reports the New York Post.

Despite the tragedy, officials believe they are getting close to rescuing the 13 people trapped in the cave.

“But even though we have lost one man, we still have faith to carry out our work,” said SEAL commander and Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew, according to the Post.

However, they faced another hardship on Thursday when volunteers accidentally pumped water back into the ground instead of info nearby rice streams, which resulted in a stream returning to the northern Tham Luang cavern complex.

Rescuers have been working furiously to pump as much water as possible out of the cave so the 12 boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach can dive out before new rain hits this weekend.