World

Thai cave rescue: Amid the joy, one woman's grief

Wife mourns Thai diver who died during cave rescue attempt

The Thai football team's rescue after being trapped in a cave for 18 days brought tears of joy.

But the tears that streak Mrs Valeepoan Kunan's face told a different story.

Her husband, former Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan, died during the attempt to rescue the 12 boys and their coach.

On her Instagram page in the run up to his cremation in his home province of Roi Et on Saturday, she posted: "You'll always be with me..There's no one like you.

"If you're not with me, I don't want to go on breathing because we promised each other we would use the same breath."

Her latest Instagram post is more gut wrenching. "I miss you. I love you so much; I love you like you're my very heart. I don't know why I love you so much. From now on when I wake up...who will I kiss?"

She shared pictures of their time together and photos of her late husband.

SECURITY OFFICER

The 38-year-old worked for Airports of Thailand Plc as a security officer at Suvarnabhumi airport and he took time off work to help his Seal colleagues with the rescue mission, which gripped the nation and the rest of the world. He was one of about 80 Thai Navy Seals, who made up the bulk of the divers involved in the rescue effort.

He died onJuly 6 when he ran out of oxygen while returning from the chamber where the boys were trapped.

He was delivering oxygen tanks into the cave and passed out while returning rescuers' used air tanks to the rescue base camp set up inside the cave.

Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was declared dead around 1 am last Friday.

Mrs Kunan told the BBC: "It's like I've died but I'm still alive. But I use pride to repress my sadness."

She spoke about the strength of their relationship, saying they would tell each other they loved each other before he left for work each day.

"Saman once said we never knew when we would die. We can't control that, so we need to cherish every day," she said.

Mrs Kunan had these final words for her husband: "I want to tell you honey, you are the hero in my heart. You always were and you always will be."

WORLD