Elon Musk Drops off 'Kid-Size' Submarine to Help Rescue Thai Soccer Team From the Cave
Elon Musk has visited the Tham Luang cave where members of the Wild Boars junior soccer team are still trapped. CEO of Tesla and SpaceX dropped off a "tiny, kid-size submarine" to the rescue team, just in case it was needed.
Musk said he had been building the mini submarine with "feedback from Thailand". The soccer team became trapped on June 23 after visiting the popular tourist cave with their coach after training.
Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/EHNh8ydaTT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
The twelve member team became stuck in the cave after rising water levels blocked the exit. So far eight of the boys have been rescued by an international rescue effort.
Submarine left in Thailand - just in case
It is unclear if Musk’s submarine will be used in future rescue effort but the billionaire said he would leave it with the rescue team "in case it may be useful in future". Musk tweeted today "just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed." He added: "Thailand is so beautiful."
The four remaining boys and the team's coach are yet to be rescued from the cave. Musk talked up his submarine yesterday describing it as having four "handles/hitch points" on both the front and back of the device, in addition to "Two air tank connections on front and two on rear, allowing one to four tanks simultaneously connected, all recessed for impact protection [with] secondary cap seal if leak develops."
Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try. Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2018
The tiny submarine also reportedly has "segmented compartments to place rocks or dive weights [and] adjust buoyancy". Musk first became interested in the rescue mission when someone asked via Twitter if he was prepared to help. Musk responded that he was ‘...happy to help if there is a way to do so”.
Musk goes overboard to appear helpful
From there rumors escalated about Musk’s possible involvement. The serial entrepreneur is also the CEO of The Boring Company, a company specializing in efficient underground boring technologies. The internet wondered if some of that equipment might be utilized in the rescue effort.
Critics of Musk have been quick to point out that the South African is keen to improve his public image and that his assistance in the rescue operation may be little more than a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt. Social media observers pointed out that in April and May Musk quadrupled his tweeting while Quartz noted that 80% of all his Twitter interactions in May were replies rather than original posts.
Got more great feedback from Thailand. Primary path is basically a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull. Light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps. Extremely robust.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2018
The final rescue efforts to free the remaining five are reportedly underway in Thailand despite heavy rainfall. Many of the rescued boys are being kept in quarantine away from their desperate families due to suffering from infections.
Via: Elon Musk/Twitter
Known as ART, the amphibious robot could help with monitoring challenging terrestrial-aquatic ecosystems.