Thailand cave rescue: Ex-Navy SEAL diver dying due to lack of oxygen highlights perils of bringing kids back from waterlogged cave

Mae Sai: A former military diver has died after running out of oxygen while assisting in the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside a cave in Thailand, an official said on Friday.

His death highlights the perils of the operation to extract the team from deep inside the waterlogged cave, raising questions about the feasibility of bringing the youngsters out the same way.

 Thailand cave rescue: Ex-Navy SEAL diver dying due to lack of oxygen highlights perils of bringing kids back from waterlogged cave

Tham Luang is Thailand's longest and toughest caves to navigate. AFP

"A former Seal who volunteered to help died last night around 2 am (local time)," Chiang Rai, deputy governor Passakorn Boonyaluck told reporters at the site, calling it "sad news." The diver, identified as Saman Kunont, was coming back from a spot inside the Tham Luang cave where the group were located when his supplies ran short.

"On his way back he lost consciousness," said Thai SEAL commander Apakorn Yookongkaew, adding that a friend had tried to help bring him out.

"But even though we have lost one man, we still have faith to carry out our work." Commenting on concerns about how the boys could make it out safely if an experienced diver could not, Apakorn said they would take more precautions with children.

The accident marks the first major setback for the gargantuan effort, which started almost two weeks ago after the "Wild Boars" team went into the cave in northern Thailand after football practice.

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Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 10:44:20 IST