Thai authorities: Rescuer in cave died from lack of oxygen


Associated Press

MAE SAI, Thailand

Thai authorities say a former navy SEAL working to rescue boys trapped in cave has died from lack of oxygen.

SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference this morning that the rescuer was working in a volunteer capacity and died in an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters.

With more rain coming, Thai rescuers are racing to pump out water from a flooded cave before they can extract 12 boys and their soccer coach with minimum risk, officials said Thursday.

A firefighter who has been working on draining the water said parts of a passage leading to the chamber where the group was found Monday was still flooded to its ceiling, making diving the only way out.

“What we worry most is the weather,” Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters. “We can’t risk having the flood back into the cave.”

The boys, age 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave after a soccer game June 23. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for 10 days.

The boys, although skinny, have been described as in good health. Authorities said the boys are being looked after by Thai navy SEALs, including medics, staying with them inside the cave.

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