"You are my very heart": Thai cave diver's widow mourns his death, asks rescued boys not to blame themselves
All the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach were successfully saved earlier this week in a three-day miracle rescue operation which was deemed nearly impossible.
The wife of the Thai navy diver, Samarn Kunan, who died attempting to rescue the 12 boys and their football coach on Thursday said that she misses her husband dearly. She also added that the young boys should not blame themselves for Samarn's death.
The soccer team, which calls themselves Wild Boar, was found on Monday night last week after they went missing during an excursion with their coach when they decided to walk into a Thailand cave network on June 23 and were trapped because of the rising waters.
An honor guard hold up a picture of Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit who died working to save 12 boys & their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at an airport in Rayong province, Thailand. @AP— Robert Smith (@NebraskaSower) July 7, 2018
Photo by Panumas Sanguanwong/@Reuters pic.twitter.com/mIbIMBUIJ5
The 38-year-old Kunan, who was a former member of the elite Navy SEALs unit, was the only casualty in the grueling search and rescue operation which saw the best divers from around the world volunteering to save the boys. The ordeal lasted for days for the boys, who was ultimately saved after 18 days of surviving in the dingy, underground cavern.
All the boys and their coach were successfully saved earlier this week in a three-day "miracle" rescue operation and a clip of the boys smiling and waving at the camera from their hospital beds was also released on Wednesday, suggesting they were healthy.
Samarn's widow, Valeepoan Kunan, posted a black-and-white photograph of her husband on her Instagram account and wrote "I love you so much," in the caption. "I miss you. I love you like you are my very heart … from now on when I wake up … who will I kiss?" she added.
The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, during a press conference said that the world should remember Samarn as he is the real hero of the entire operation, which involved navigating through tight passageways in the cave complex for days at end. Osottanakorn said: "Samarn Kunan is the real hero. On the day that he passed, the entire team was sad, but we used this sorrow. We saw that he gave his life for this cause."
Valeepoan, a day earlier, had posted another picture of her hand her husband's as condolences from across the world poured in for her on her Instagram account.
Rest in Peace soldier. You did your best.— 🍁ارمــغــــان (@Zero1point5) July 8, 2018
Last picture of Former Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Kunan who died due to a lack of oxygen during cave rescue operations to save the soccer team that are trapped inside Tham Luang cave. pic.twitter.com/hfkzUrUEkS
One of the comments read: "Our hearts go out to you and your family at this difficult time. Your husband is so brave. The world will not forget his kindness and all he did to save those boys."
Samarn, who joined the rescue operation on July 1, was an emergency rescue worker at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport after he left the SEALs in 2006. He died on July 6 after losing consciousness while attempting to place oxygen tanks deep inside the cave for the boys.
This is Saman Kunan (alternatively spelled Gunan), who died in the effort to save the trapped kids in the cave. He was a Thai SEAL who came out of retirement to help out. Legit hero. pic.twitter.com/gaacKfmdVe— Luke Ryan (@Les_Gingerables) July 6, 2018
Reports state that a Thai artist has also promised to create a statue of Samarn and erect it in Chiang Rai province, where the Tham Luang cave is situated. Valeepoan also had a message for the rescued boys: "I want to tell the boys, please don't blame yourselves."