Thailand cave rescue: Ex-Thai Navy Seal dies of oxygen shortage in cave where football team is stranded

Officials have said he was trying to take supplies to the cave. It is yet unclear what his death could mean for the rescue efforts.

Thailand cave rescue: Ex-Thai Navy Seal dies of oxygen shortage in cave where football team is stranded
The 12 boys are between 13 and 16 years of age, and their coach is 25. (Picture: Reuters)

A rescue diver who was part of attempts to rescue the football team stuck inside a cave in Thailand has died, officials have said. The former Thai Navy Seal diver died after running out of oxygen in the cave in which the 12 boys and their coach have been stuck for about two weeks now.

News agencies quoted officials as saying the former Thai Navy Seal diver died after falling unconscious in the cave due to a lack of oxygen, while taking in supplies to the stranded youth.

This comes even as the rescue personnel brace themselves to face the forecasts of more rains expected in the region in coming days. Heavy rainfall combined with the resultant water inflows could lead to a rise in water levels inside the cave, further endangering the stranded cave.

The rescue team - which now includes military personnel from a number of countries - meanwhile continue their efforts to find alternative entrances to the cave that could possibly lead to the part of the tunnels where the youth are stranded.

The stranding of the football team has captured global attention ever since news emerged that the whole team had disappeared on June 23. Their belongings had been found outside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province. The team had gone into the cave after a practice session, and was forced to go deeper and deeper into the cave to avoid the rising water levels aa

Divers and other rescue personnel struggled to traverse the flooded tunnels for days before they found all the youngsters alive, deeper in the cave than they had expected. The boys were found frail, but were healthy and alive.

Since they were found, rescue personnel have reportedly been trying to train all thirteen youth at diving, to give them a change of escaping if the flooding situation does not improve. Thai Navy Seals are also reportedly pumping oxygen into the chamber in which the youth are trapped in, to allow them to breathe.

Among the options to safely bring the team out of the cave are to get the boys to dive and swim out with the help of trained divers; try and find a different path that can reach them, or continue to wait inside the cave for however long it takes for water levels to subside and then just walk out.

(With inputs from agencies)