A year and a half after a youth soccer team was rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand during a harrowing and dangerous mission, one of the divers who helped save lives has died of an infection he contracted during the operation.

Petty Officer 1st Class Beirut Pakbara was receiving treatment for the infection, but his condition worsened when it spread to his bloodstream, according to a Facebook post from the Royal Thai Navy. He died this week and was buried Friday at the Talosai mosque in the Langu district of the Satun province, reported the Bangkok Post.

A Royal Thai Navy spokesman told the Bangkok Post that Beirut will be posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

อาลัย จ่าเอก เบรุต ปากบารา วีรบุรุษถ้ำหลวง ผู้จากไป จ่าเอก เบรุต ปัจจุบัน ดำรงตำแหน่ง ประจำชุดปฏิบัติการพิเศษที่ 5...

Posted by กองทัพเรือ Royal Thai Navy on Friday, December 27, 2019

Beirut is the second diver to lose his life as a result of the cave rescue. Saman Kunam, a retired Thai navy diver, died during the mission in July 2018 while staging oxygen tanks along the 2.5-mile route to the 12 boys and their coach. The Wild Boars soccer team had become trapped deep in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave during an adventurous outing that went horribly wrong when heavy rainfall filled the flood-prone passages with murky water.

It took more than two weeks for dozens of rescuers from around the world to retrieve the soccer team from the cave by swimming each member out one by one. In preparation, Saman and other divers had placed oxygen tanks throughout the cave. During the mission, Saman’s oxygen depleted; his diving partner had to swim his body out.

The rescue team was prepared for more deaths during the mission, including that some of the children would not make it out of the cave alive, but all 12 boys and their coach survived. The dramatic, successful operation was recounted in a documentary and motion picture.

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