November 25, 2020

Thai navy SEAL who took part in cave rescue dies after year-long infection

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BANGKOK: A Thai navy SEAL who took part in the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand last year has died from a blood infection he contracted during the operation, the Royal Thai Navy said on Friday (Dec 27).

Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak had been receiving treatment, but his condition worsened, the navy said in a statement.

Another rescuer, former navy diver Sergeant Saman Kuman, died during the rescue operation.

Wild Boars Academy’s coach Ekapol Chanthawong and 12 boys had gone to explore the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province on Jun 23, 2018, when a rainy-season downpour flooded the cave system and trapped them underground.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Wild Boars soccer team pose for a photo during their return to the Tham
Members of the Wild Boars soccer team pose for a photo during their return to the Tham Luang caves, where they were trapped in a year ago, in Chiang Rai, Thailand, Jun 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

INTERACTIVE SPECIAL: A closer look at the unprecedented rescue operation

They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered.

Volunteers from abroad joined the rescue effort, which ended on Jul 10 when the boys and their coach were all brought out safely.

READ: ‘Wild Boars’ deal with fame one year after Thai cave rescue

Four Thai Navy Seals are seen after leaving the cave during the rescue mission in Chiang Rai
Four Thai Navy Seals are seen after leaving the cave safe during the rescue mission, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand July 10, 2018 in this photo obtained from social media. Thai Navy Seal/via REUTERS