Petty Officer Beirut Pakbara fell ill while trying to rescue the twelve footballers along with their coach, who were trapped inside a watery cave, in northern Thailand. Pakbara died of his illness, on Friday. The dramatic rescue operation that involved foreign expert divers and the Thai Navy, had fetched worldwide attraction, last year.
Thai Navy SEAL died of blood infection
Beirut Pakbara was part of the rescue operation, that lasted two weeks and involved foreign expert divers and the Royal Thai Navy. The twelve junior footballers from "Wild Boars" team along with their coach Ekapol Chanthawong, were retrieved safely, out of the flooded Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.
The football team along with their coach had gone to explore the cave on June 23, last year, after which they were stuck inside the cave that was flooded due to heavy downpour.
Pakbara caught blood infection, while the rescue operation was underway. He was under doctor's supervision, for more than a year, since the 18-days long rescue operation came to an end on July 10, last year. According to his mother, Pakbara was in and out of hospital, for over a year.
He breathed his last on Friday and was buried immediately, following Islamic funeral rituals, AFP reported. Another Thai Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan died on July 6, last year, during the rescue operation, as he ran out of oxygen. His statue was erected outside the cave's entrance, which has attracted more than 1.3 million tourists, till now.
Rescue operation garnered worldwide attention
The rescue operation was covered world-wide and made the young footballers of "Wild Boars" team, an overnight sensation. They have travelled the world, met football giants at Manchester United and LA Galaxy and also featured on Ellen Degeneres' show.
A film "The Cave" by Irish-Thai filmmaker Tom Waller, was released in Thailand, last month, that captured the 18 days long rescue effort.