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Thai Navy SEAL Who Took Part In Cave Rescue Dies After Year-Long Infection

A Thai navy SEAL who helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand last year has died from a blood infection he contracted during the operation, the Royal Thai Navy said on Friday.

Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak had been receiving treatment, but his condition worsened, the navy said in a statement.

Bureerak is now the second diver to die as a result of the rescue.

Another rescuer, former navy diver Sergeant Saman Kuman, died during the rescue operation.

Wild Boars Academy’s coach Ekapol Chanthawong and 12 boys had gone to explore the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province on June 23, 2018, when a rainy-season downpour flooded the cave system and trapped them underground.

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They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered. Volunteers from abroad joined the rescue effort, which ended on July 10 when the boys and their coach were all brought out safely.

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The cave is located in a remote and mountainous part of Chiang Rai province near the Laos and Myanmar borders. The cave itself is nearly six miles long, according to the AFP, and is one of the toughest and longest caves in Thailand -- even for divers with deep experience.