Thai Diver Dies In Rescue Attempt

The seas around the country attract many liveaboard in Thailand filled with divers seeking some fun under the sun. But a recent tragedy has hung a tragic air over most of the country thanks to the news of a football club of 12 young boys remain stranded in the caves in northern Chiang Rai. Rescue attempts are currently ongoing, but even those have been struck with tragedy as one of the people working to rescue the kids ended up dead.

Former Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan, 38, one of the volunteers working amidst the caving experts, divers and engineers, was recently found dead, due to lack of oxygen. The former petty officer was responsible for bringing oxygen into different locations in the cave complex the kids were last sighted in, some 2.5 miles from the main exit.

Chiang Rai’s Deputy Governor, PassakornBoonyalak, says the volunteer was so focused on delivering oxygen to the rescuers that, in a tragic irony, he ended up not having enough for himself. His final dive started around 8:30pm in July 5, Thursday, and his diving buddy tried to revive him in one of the underground caverns after he passed out, but later, at 1am, he was declared dead in Chamber 3, the rescue op’s staging area.

Thai Seal commander Rear Admiral ArpakornYookongkaew considers the incident a sobering reminder of how tough navigating the cave system was. He has, however, refuted that it is also a stark reminder of the costs, and reassured the public that the rescue operation will continue to move forward, both to say the boys trapped as well as to honour the death of their comrade and friend.

Rescue operations are still underway, with many volunteers taking time off from their jobs or their vacations aboard a liveaboard in Thailand to assist, with even armies from the US and the UK coming in to assist with the rescue op. Tensions are high as the monsoon season rolls in, with many saying that the heavy rains would make a rescue outright impossible.

The Thai government has been working on the clock to rescue the boys, bringing in local experts as well as major powers to assist.