The Royal Thai Navy paid homage to a former SEAL team diver who died trying to rescue a boys football team and their coach from a cave near Chiang Rai.
Saman Gunan, 38, died July 6 when he ran out of oxygen on his way back to the surface after placing air tanks along the 3.2-kilometer route to the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach, the current method for refreshing the air supply in the cave.
Navy commander-in-chief Adm. Naris Pratumsuwan had Saman’s body flown to U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya Airport aboard a C-120 cargo plane July 6.
Top navy officers and local administrators joined the procession to bring his remains to Sattahip Temple for a royally sponsored funeral. HM the King had his personal secretary Pakdee Sangchuto bring royal bathing water and wreaths to honor the hero.
The body was then flown back to Saman’s home in Roi Et for the final funeral rites.
Vice Adm. Apaporn Yukongkaew, commander of Royal Thai Navy SEAL team, deployed 17 experienced divers to the Tham Luang cave system June 25 to help find the missing 12 boys and their 25-year-old mentor.
Sattahip-based SEALs had joined an international force of diving and cave experts from the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and China to find the boys, who had been missing for 12 days in a cave in Tham Luang.
The SEAL members were separated into four-man teams, with full diving equipment and machinery to drill through rock and blocked passages.
The cave is about seven kilometers long. While the mouth of the cave is open and accessible, it narrows dangerously.