A Thai Navy SEAL who took part in rescuing a soccer team from a flooded cave last year has died due to a blood infection he contracted during the operation.
Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak’s death this week was confirmed by the Royal Thai Navy Friday, which noted his condition deteriorated despite treatment, according to Reuters. He battled the infection for about a year.
The rescue operation also resulted in the death of retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Saman Kunam.
At the time local outlets reported that the 38-year-old, who had just supplied oxygen tanks to a chamber in the Thuam Luang Nang Non cave complex, did not have enough oxygen for himself and died heading out of the caves — which People reports are located near the borders of Laos and Myanmar.
The 12 boys from the Wild Boars Academy football team and their 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, were stranded underground when their cave in Chiang Rai flooded on June 23, 2018, in what Reuters described as part of a rainy-season downpour. The boys were ages 11 to 16.
All 13 were saved, with the rescue effort coming to a close on July 10, after they’d spent nine days drinking water that was dripping from rocks to get by.
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