The efforts to rescue a soccer team of young boys who are trapped in a cave in Thailand has turned deadly. Early Friday morning, reports surfaced that 38-year-old diver Saman Gunan died while trying to deliver oxygen tanks. Gunan fell unconscious after his own air supply had run out. His diving partner brought him out of the cave but was unable to revive him
“His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on his way back,” the Chiang Rai deputy governor said.
PO Saman was brought out by his dive partner but could not be revived.
The oxygen level in the chamber where the boys have taken refuge has fallen to 15%, officials said at a news conference. The usual level is about 21%.
The boys and their coach ventured into the cave while it was dry, but were trapped by a sudden deluge of rainfall. Ten days later British rescue divers found them perched on a rock shelf about 4km (2.5 miles) from the cave mouth.
Gunan, who was an avid runner and cyclist, was no longer in the navy but had agreed to assist in the rescue operation
This is former Petty Officer Saman Gunan, 38 years old, former diver with the Thai Navy who died early this morning returning from the cave where the boys are stranded. He will have a full military funeral. More details @BBCr4today #Thamluangcave pic.twitter.com/j7TkTjP1Oq
— Dan Johnson (@DanJohnsonNews) July 6, 2018
“On the way back from setting up oxygen bottles, Petty Officer First Class Saman Gunan passed out. His buddy tried to give him first aid, but he did not respond. We brought him to chamber three and gave him another round of first aid, but he remained unconscious,” Thai Seal commander Rear Adm Arpakorn Yookongkaew said.
With the falling levels of oxygen, there is concern about how long the boys and their coach who are trapped can remain in the cave. The death of Gunan also shows the dangers of the massive rescue operation. The boys are between ages 11 and 16, with reports that a number of the boys are unable to swim.