A former Thai navy SEAL working to save a young soccer team trapped in a cave died from a lack of oxygen in an overnight mission, officials said Friday morning.
SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told reporters the volunteer rescuer was working to replace oxygen canisters.
Earlier Thursday, rescue workers suffered a setback in their race to drain water from the flooded cave and extract the team when volunteers inadvertently pumped water back into the cave.
Operation commander Narongsak Osatanakorn said overzealous volunteers working on their own arrived on site and began pumping water into the ground, forcing it back into the partially flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand.
“They may have some belief that their techniques are effective for groundwater drainage, but anything that is not in the plan must be discussed with us first,” Narongsak told Thai media. “We are racing against water (that is) flowing into the cave although we have plugged its channels.”