Thai king honours Navy SEAL diver

By AAP Newswire

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has issued a royal decree promoting and honouring the Thai Navy SEAL diver who died in a rescue operation earlier this month for the 13 footballers trapped inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

Saman Kunan, 37, died on July 6 while placing oxygen tanks in the cave in preparation for the rescue, which was successfully completed last week over three consecutive days beginning on Sunday.

The king's decree promoted Saman to lieutenant commander while honouring him with the royal decoration of Knight Grand Cross (first class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.

Saman was the only fatality in the operation.

The 12 young football players, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were trapped inside the cave on June 23, after flash floods blocked their only exit.

The group is currently recovering in hospital in Chiang Rai province, near the Myanmar border, around 1,000 kilometres north of Bangkok.