Former Navy SEAL dies from lack of oxygen while working to rescue boys in cave

CHIANG RAI, THAILAND - JULY 5: A bulldozer clear out the surface of the drilling well site at the entrance of Tham Luang Nang Non cave to release water in the effort of lowering down the water level inside the cave on July 05, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The 12 boys and their soccer coach have been found alive in the cave here theyve bee missing for over a week after monsoon rains blocked the main entrance in northern Thailand. Videos released by the Thai Navy SEAL shows the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 15-year-old coach are in good health in Tham Luang Nang Non cave and the challenge now will be to extract the party safely. (Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images)

MAE SAI, Thailand — A former Thai navy SEAL working as part of the effort to rescue a soccer team trapped in a cave died Friday from lack of oxygen, authorities said.

SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference Friday morning that the rescuer was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters. He said while underwater, the rescuer passed out and efforts to resuscitate him failed.

“Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission,” Arpakorn said.

Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region.

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