Thai boys rescued from flooded cave mourn diver who died during mission to save them
The Thai boys who were rescued from a flooded cave are mourning the diver who died during the mission to save them.
The 12 boys and their football became trapped in the Tham Luang cave on June 23 when monsoon waters began rising.
Many of them spent more than two weeks in the cave as experienced divers launched their rescue mission to extract them.
During the mission, volunteer and former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan came into difficulty while installing oxygen tanks along the cave's narrow passages.
He passed away on July 6.
Health officials deemed the boys and their coach mentally and physically fit to receive the news of Kunan's death yesterday.
Prior to this, the boys, aged between 11 and 16-years-old, had no idea that the diver had died.
Upon hearing the news, many of the boys cried and wrote messages of thanks to the former Navy SEAL.
Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry, said:
"All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him.
"They also thanked him and promised to be good boys."
Photos released by Thai officials show the boys crowded around a sketch of Kunan with their heads bowed.
Almost 100 divers were involved in the mission to extract the trapped boys from the cave.
Upon their exit, the youngsters were transported to hospital where they have remained since then.
They are expected to return home this Thursday.