Thai cave rescue: Former navy diver dies from lack of oxygen

Annette Crawford
July 7, 2018

"Stay strong and we are with you", he said.

He added that "everyone, their friends and families, all of the boys (here), all the England squad, all our thoughts are with them".

A huge operation is underway at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, where dozens of Thai Navy SEALs and global experts are attempting to find a way to get the boys out.

A former Thai military diver died during operations to rescue 12 boys who are now trapped in a flooded cave in Changi Rai on Thursday night (July 5).

Parts of a passage in the Thuam Luang Nang Non cave complex leading to the chamber where the group was found Monday were still flooded to the ceiling, which now leaves diving as the only way out.

Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said the group did not have to be brought out of the cave at the same time.

"We need to minimise risk".

Rescue divers on Tuesday found twelve teenage soccer players and their coach alive after they went missing in a Thai cave more than ten days ago.

Rescuers have been slowed by logistical issues including high water levels inside the cave and narrow, flooded passages which would require the boys to dive alone. The boys, although skinny, have been described as in good health.

When asked how the children could be extracted safely when an ex-SEAL lost his life on his way back, Arpakorn said the rescuers would take more precautions with children. I sincerely hope that they will be able to join us at the final, which will undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration.

On Thursday their parents sent letters in for the boys to read - but the governor said he was not sure if these had reached them yet. They've practiced wearing diving masks and breathing, in preparation for the possibility they may have to dive.

"We're afraid of the weather and the oxygen in the cave [reducing in quality], but we have to try to set the plan and see which is best".

Rescuers and volunteers in the region have been pumping water out of the cave in an effort to clear the passageways.

A Navy SEAL working with an global rescue team to save a soccer team stuck in a cave in Thailand has died, local authorities said.

The divers carry equipment or food for the trapped team enclosed in plastic bags, holding them above their heads for as long as they can before submerging. "I'm anxious ... he has never dived", said Somboon Kaewwongwan, the father of a 16-year-old boy.

USA dive and medical personnel will support the proposed operation by staging equipment and setting up triage stations, but will not go beyond the third chamber inside the cave, according to the document.

Authorities have confirmed the oxygen supply in the cave has fallen to 15%, compared to the normal 21% levels in the air, a situation which has been made worse by the number of rescue workers inside the cave. That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October.

He says that even divers with considerable expertise have been "climbing up, climbing through, going (through water with) zero visibility to finally get through the team". Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said that the most pressing mission was to provide the oxygen line to reach the kids, who are stuck deep in the complex but are being looked after by four SEALs, including a medic.

He said it was awkward, but possible, to teach them minimal skills. Rescuers are sending them supplies and trying to determine how to get them out.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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