Navy SEAL rescuing Thai boys dies as rescuers set up internet, drain water

In this July 3, 2018, image taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal, Thai boys are with Navy SEALs inside the cave, Mae Sai, northern Thailand. With heavy rains forecast to worsen flooding in a cave in northern Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach are waiting to be extracted by rescuers, authorities say they might be forced to have them swim out through a narrow, underwater passage. The 13 are described as healthy and being looked after by medics inside the cave.(Thai Navy Seal via AP)

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) -- Thai authorities say a navy SEAL working to rescue missing Thai boys trapped in cave has died from lack of oxygen.

SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference Friday morning that the rescuer was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters.

Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23.

News of this tragedy comes after a Thai official says rescue teams are still busy trying to install an internet cable to the cave so that parents can talk to their trapped children.

Korbchai Boonorana, deputy director of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, also says Thursday rescuers are continuing to drain water from wells near the cave complex to reduce water levels inside in order to make the extraction of the 12 teammates and their coach possible.

He says: "The water continues to be drained out. The more the better."

Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said earlier that not all the boys may be extracted at the same time depending on their health.

He said any extraction has to be "100 percent safe."

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