Thai boys trapped in a cave mourn Navy SEAL who died during rescue

The 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in northern Thailand for almost three weeks paid tribute to the Navy SEAL who lost his life during the rescue operation. Wiping away tears, the boys wrote messages of thanks on a portrait of the former Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died July 6 during an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the trapped teens and their coach.

Kunan, 38, ran out of air while underwater, an official said at the time. His death came at a pivotal moment in the rescue operation, as teams ramped up their efforts to free the boys ahead of forecast monsoonal rain and dropping oxygen levels in the cave. Doctors decided last week to ask the boys’ relatives to tell them about the death of Kunan, according to the Thai Public Health Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook.

A team of psychiatrists was also on hand to monitor their mental health, the doctor said. The boys, ages 11 to 16, wrote messages of thanks and promised to be “good guys” on a portrait of Kunan. All the members of the Wild Boars soccer team are in good health and are expected to be discharged from hospital by Thursday, the Health Ministry said in a statement Saturday.

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