A former Thai navy SEAL assisting in the rescue efforts to save 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave has died from lack of oxygen, authorities said.
The volunteer rescuer died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters, SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference Friday morning.
The soccer team entered the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai province on June 23 with their 25-year-old soccer coach, just after practice had ended. The boys were taking part in some sort of “initiation” ritual, in which they would carve their names on the cave wall.
Authorities are racing to pump water out of the cave as they weigh several rescue options, including having the boys scuba dive their way to freedom or leave the team where they are until the monsoon season ends and the water levels recede.
Other potential options include scouring the mountainside for a backchannel into the cave, as well as finding faster ways to pump water from the cave.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.