The Royal Thai Navy is mourning the death of Sergeant Beirut Pak Barbara – ‘the hero of the cave’.
CAPTION: Sergeant Ek Beirut, Royal Thai Navy clearance diver, died of blood infection contracted during the Thai soccer team cave rescue, after 18 months. Photo Royal Thai Navy.
Sergeant Ek Beirut, of the 5th Special Operations. 3rd Special Battle Department, 1st Special War Fleet, was a leading figure in the rescue of the boys soccer team from a submerged cave in July last year.
He contracted a blood infection during the mission and has been treated and under close supervision of doctors ever since.
He collapsed and died this week from the blood infection in the bloodstream.
The Royal Thai Navy expressed deepest condolences to the family of Sergeant Ek Beirut.
In a Facebook statement (roughly translated from Thai) the Navy said, “The navy has considered the general rights of Sergeant Ek Beirut. [He] will be awarded 7 Steps to Postpone the 5-Storey Rank as a ship and the royal cremation. Is, the Thai Crown, the subsidy from Thai kindness fund for the martyrs in the southern border province and the responsible area of the navy. Special Subsidy 3 times the salary, the money, the reward, the money, the plaque, the special reward. Total money for 464,980 baht.”
In June and July 2018, 12 members of a junior football team were trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, after rains blocked their exit.
The team, aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach, entered the cave on 23 June after football practice, but became trapped when heavy rains partially flooded the cave, blocking their way out.
The boys were eventually extracted from the cave 18 days later, thanks to a mammoth and dangerous multi-national rescue mission that captured world media attention.
A former Thai navy diver, Sergeant Saman Kuman, died during the rescue operation on 5 July 2018.
Two Australian rescuers – Doctor Craig Challen of Western Australia and Doctor Richard Harris of South Australia – were made joint ‘Australians of the Year’ in 2019.