Thai diver dies in effort to rescue boys soccer team from cave

Ex-Navy Seal dies on mission to deliver oxygen to Thai football team trapped in cave

Ex-Navy Seal dies on mission to deliver oxygen to Thai football team trapped in cave

Thai officials have been briefing the media once every morning at unspecified times and Thai navy SEALs have been posting videos and pictures of the boys and what's going on inside the cave.

Players from Brazil legend Ronaldo to England's John Stones said they were closely following attempts to rescue the team, whose ordeal coincides with the World Cup in Russian Federation.

"We originally thought the boys can stay safe inside the cave for quite some time but circumstances have changed. We are calculating how much time we have if it rains, how many hours and days", he told reporters.

A senior army commander, Maj. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said the most pressing mission is the oxygen line.

The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the cave after a soccer game June 23.

With murky water rushing through the passageways and rescuers are concerned that having the boys dive out is a unsafe option.

At this time, the only way for the schoolboys to escape the cave is by diving - but none of them have experience and only a few of them can swim.

The strategically placed canisters allow divers to stay underwater for longer during what is about a five-hour trip to reach the stranded team.

The diver lost consciousness and efforts to resuscitate him failed, Arpakorn said.

"Whoever offers help, knowledge, technology, equipment, we gratefully accept", Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said this week, but added that he had turned some people away because they would have been more of a hindrance than a help.

Samarn Poonan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit, died on Thursday night as he worked underwater in the cave complex, laying oxygen tanks along a potential exit route, the SEAL commander said.

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British caver Vernon Unsworth (C) gets out of a pick up truck near the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 5, 2018.

Oxygen levels were being depleted by the large number of people working inside the cave network, said Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn.

Parts of a passageway leading to where the boys and coach were found on Monday is still flooded all the way to the ceiling, making diving the only way out.

The players remain trapped despite being reached this week by cave-diving rescuers, who released footage of them looking emaciated but calm, some wearing football shirts.

Officials have long feared the coming torrential rain would catastrophically flood the cave system in Chiang Rai and make rescue impossible.

They are hoping that an upgraded draining effort can lower the water level in an area where it is still at the ceiling or just about.

"We are supporting the frogs team. we have medical teams and divers from the navy with us", Saman said, referring to Thai military divers by their nickname.

Officials had initially considered leaving the boys in the chamber to wait out the rainy season - which could have seen them trapped there for up to four months.

Explaining the difficulties of the operation on Sky News, Ivan Karadzic, a Danish cave diver volunteering in the risky mission indicated retrieval of the boys could begin at any time.

He initially said the boys were "ready to go" but then later backtracked by saying they were "not ready to dive".

But pressure continues to mount as predicted heavy rains may complicate any rescue efforts.

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