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

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

FILE: Thai military paramedics head to Tham Luang cave area as divers began evacuation of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park. Picture: AFP.

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.

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 23 June 2018, when a rainy-season downpour flooded the cave system and trapped them underground.

They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered. Volunteers from abroad joined the rescue effort, which ended on 10 July when the boys and their coach were all brought out safely.