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Navy Seal who helped save boys trapped in cave dies of infection contracted during rescue operation

Thai navy SEAL Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak, who died on December 26th, was one of nineteen divers to participate in the rescue attempt

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Bangkok—One of the heroes figured in a story that gripped the whole in June 2018 has succumbed to an illness he contracted during the operation that saw twelve boys and their coach rescued after being trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand for more than ten days.

Thai navy SEAL Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak, who died on December 26th, was one of nineteen divers to participate in the rescue attempt, and the second to have died in the endeavor. Another diver, Sergeant Saman Kunan, died as the operations were carried out.

Reuters reports that according to a statement from the Thai navy, while Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak was undergoing treatment for the blood infection, his condition had gotten worse.

อาลัย จ่าเอก เบรุต ปากบารา วีรบุรุษถ้ำหลวง ผู้จากไปจ่าเอก เบรุต ปัจจุบัน ดำรงตำแหน่ง ประจำชุดปฏิบัติการพิเศษที่ 5…

Posted by กองทัพเรือ Royal Thai Navy on Friday, 27 December 2019

The boys, who were from Wild Boars Academy and were between the ages 11 to 16, along with their 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, got trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand. On June 23, 2018, they went exploring in the cave after practice, and heavy rains drove them deeper inside , eventually causing floods that trapped the children and their coach.

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It took a team of rescuers to get the young men out of the cave in a cliffhanger that left the world in suspense for more than two weeks. The boys and their coach finally made it out alive by July 10, just before the next monsoon rains were expected to fall. However, Sergeant Saman, a 37-year-old former Thai navy SEAL, died during the perilous rescue operations.

In his book The Cave, ABC Australia Southeast Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane wrote, “To calm nerves, the parents were told the boys were being taught how to dive and the media reported that each of them would be tethered to an air hose and then swim out with one rescue diver in front and another behind. This was untrue.

Those who had been inside the flooded tunnels knew there was no way a child who had never dived before could make it through the muddy and treacherous obstacle course.

The only hope was to sedate them, put oxygen-fed masks with silicone seals over their faces and let the expert cave divers carry them out.

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But it was crucial that the masks fitted tightly, otherwise they might drown.”

In May, it was announced that a mini-series about the dramatic rescue would be made by Jon Chu, who directed the wildly popular Crazy Rich Asians movie, along with Netflix, Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya, and SK Global Entertainment.

According to SK Global and streaming giant Netflix, they were granted the rights by 13 Thumluang Co. Ltd., which represents the young men, “to tell the true story of how the 12 boys and their coach were rescued after being trapped for two weeks inside the flooded Tham Luang caves near Chiang Mai, Thailand, during the summer of 2018.”

The agreement to make the mini-series was signed on April 30, Tuesday, at the Ministry in Bangkok, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report also says that while details pertaining to finances have not been revealed, local reports say each member of the football team will be receiving one million baht ($94,000) for the rights. -/TISG

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Read also: Thai cave rescue story to be turned into a mini-series by Netflix and team behind Crazy Rich Asians

Thai cave rescue story to be turned into a mini-series by Netflix and team behind Crazy Rich Asians

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