A Thai Navy Seal that was part of a youth soccer team’s dramatic three-day rescue in 2018 from a flooded cave in Thailand was killed by a blood infection he contracted during the risky mission, officials said.
The Royal Thai Navy said on Facebook Friday that the care was being given to Petty Officer 1st Class Bayroot Pakbara, but his health worsened after the infection spread to his blood. Authorities did not reveal what Pakbara suffered from serious infection, or how he contracted it.
Pakbara, who was referred to by the Navy as a “hero,” will be promoted to lieutenant rank posthumously. According to the Bangkok Post daily, Pakbara was buried Friday at the Talosai mosque in southern Satun province.
Local media quoted his mother as saying her son had been in and out of the hospital since the cave rescue.
The 12 Wild Boars spent more than two weeks trapped in Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex after being flooded by annual monsoon rains. The last of the team members inside the cave were pulled out by July 10, 2018, drawing celebration across the world.
The boys and their coach entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater.
Despite a massive search, the boys spent nine nights lost in the cave before they were spotted by an expert diver.