Saman Kunam died near the Tham Luang caves after an attempt to supply one of the chambers with oxygen tanks
While all 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach were successfully evacuated after they became trapped in a flooded Thailand cave, a former Thai Navy SEAL who volunteered in rescue efforts tragically died. However, the diver’s widow is asking that the boys do not feel guilty over his passing.
“I want to tell the boys, please don’t blame yourselves,” Valeepoan Kunan, the wife of Saman Kunam, told reporters, according to Reuters.
Saman, 38, died near the Tham Luang caves after an attempt to supply one of the chambers with oxygen tanks, according to local media reports.
“It was sad news, a former SEAL who volunteered to help died last night about 2 a.m.,” Chiang Rai’s deputy governor Passakorn Boonyaluck told reporters, according to Channel News Asia. “His job was to deliver oxygen [in the cave]. He did not have enough on his way back.”
Valeepoan shared numerous photos of her late husband via Instagram.
“I love you so much,” she captioned a black-and-white photograph of her husband on social media, according to Reuters.
On another, she wrote, “I miss you. I love you like you are my very heart…from now on when I wake up…who will I kiss?”
The Wild Boars players are recovering in isolation at the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital after more than two weeks underground. In a new video showing the children for the first time since their rescue, some of the boys — who range in age from 11 to 16 — are seen sitting up in their hospital beds with masks over their face.
Matt Rivers of CNN also shared a video on Twitter showing the players’ parents waving at them from behind a window.
“The boys are in quarantine for a week or so,” Rivers reported. “Parents could be allowed into the room in the coming days while wearing special protective clothing.”
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Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand’s health department, gave reporters an update on the boys’ health on Wednesday.
“From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed,” he said, according to Reuters. “The children were well taken care of in the cave.”
He added praise for their 25-year-old coach, Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, for taking “care of the footballers very well,” according to CNN.
Lertwilairattanapong said the children had lost an average of 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) during the ordeal, according to CNN. He also revealed three members of the group were being treated for minor lung infections.
It had been 18 days since the members of the Wild Boars soccer team were stranded before they were all safely out of the cave. They had been exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex in northern Thailand on June 23 when heavy rains and rising floodwaters blocked the team’s path, leaving the group unable to get out.
The first four boys were finally pulled from the cave on Sunday. On Monday, four more were brought to safety. Finally, on Tuesday, the remaining four players and their coach emerged.