News World Thai cave boys cried when told of death of former Navy SEAL
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Thai cave boys cried when told of death of former Navy SEAL

Thai cave boys Saman Gunan
The boys were only told of Saman Gunan's death at the weekend. Photo: AAP
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The 12 young footballer players who were saved from a Thai cave are mourning a former Navy SEAL who died in the operation, after being told of his death over the weekend.

Volunteer diver Saman Gunan lost his life 10 days ago while installing oxygen tanks in the flooded cave complex.

He has since been hailed around the world as a hero.

The boys were told of his sacrifice only over the weekend, when doctors decided they were strong enough to process the news.

“All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry, said, according to the BBC.

Thai cave boys
The boys wrote messages on a portrait of the former Navy SEAL. Photo: AAP

“They also thanked him and promised to be good boys.”

Photos show the boys, aged 11 to 16, paying respect to an image of Mr Gunan, which is surrounded by messages of thanks penned by the boys.

FIFA had invited the boys and their coach to the World Cup final between France and Croatia, but they did not recover enough to take up the invitation.

They are set to be released from hospital this week.

Gunan ‘loved helping others’

Thai cave boys
Saman Gunan was one of 80 Thai divers involved in the rescue effort. Photo: Facebook

Mr Gunan was remembered as a hero at a memorial ceremony last week.

The 38-year-old set out on July 5 to deliver three oxygen tanks.

He completed his task, but lost consciousness on the return trip. His diving partner performed CPR but was unable to revive him.

Mr Gunan was one of about 80 current and former Thai Navy SEALs who made up the bulk of the divers involved in the rescue effort.”We won’t let the life lost be wasted,” SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew said at the memorial.

Mr Gunan’s wife, Waleeporn Gunan, told the BBC last week: “It’s like I’ve died but I’m still alive.”

“He loved helping others, doing charity work and getting things done,” she said.

Work has begun on a mural in Chiang Rai featuring Gunan and others involved in the rescue effort.