A member of a rescue team that saved 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand last year has died from an infection he picked up during the operation, officials said on Saturday.

Petty Officer Beirut Pakbara, a Thai Navy Seal, contracted a blood infection during the rescue at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province, reports the BBC.

Beirut was under medical supervision but his condition worsened and he died on Friday, an official statement said.

Beirut was buried on Friday in his home province of Satun in a ceremony according to Islamic funeral rituals, the officials added.

Another rescuer, Saman Gunan, a former Thai Navy Seal diver, died during the operation.

He had been delivering air tanks and was on his way out of the cave complex when he ran out of air and lost consciousness.

A statue of him was later erected near the cave's entrance.

The Wild Boars youth football team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach had been exploring the cave on June 23, 2018 when a downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them deep underground.

They were all eventually freed in a 17-day international rescue effort that involved more than 90 divers, the BBC said.

The cave was only reopened to tourists in November this year.