The 12 ‘Wild Boars’ and their 25-year-old coach were freed from the Luang Nang Non Cave on July 10, some 17 days after they became trapped there on June 23.

The boys, aged 11-16, are expected to be released from hospital on Thursday and were only told of Gunan’s death on Saturday, when doctors decided they were strong enough to process the news, the BBC reported.

“All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him,” said Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry.

A Just Giving page set up by the Royal Navy Clearance Divers Association to support Gunan’s family was just shy of its £6,000 target on Tuesday afternoon.

The page reads: “The death of Saman Kunan, 38, a volunteer and former Thai Navy Seal, came as a cruel jolt to the tireless efforts of divers, engineers and caving experts who have been working furiously to extract the children aged 11-16, and their coach, 25, since they were found sheltering in a muddy chamber.”

The Thai diver, who came out of retirement to take part in the rescue mission, will also be honoured by the association with a tribute usually reserved for dead Royal Navy mine clearance divers.

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