Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that he is sending a specialist team of engineers to Thailand to further aid in the rescue operation of a soccer team and their coach trapped in a flooded cave.
A total of 12 boys who range in age from 11-16 and a 25-year old coach have been trapped in the 6-mile long Tham Luang cave in Thailand since the last two weeks. The boys and their coach were exploring the cave when a sudden flash flood trapped them.
The rising water level in the cave is causing a drop in the oxygen levels, which is causing the boys to exhaust. In addition, the forecast of heavy rains this weekend in the area is again making it difficult for the rescue team to save the team and the coach.
Also, many of the passageways leading to the cave are narrow, and most of the boys do not know how to swim. Given the complexities and the region’s monsoon season, authorities fear that the time is running out to save them.
Hi sir, if possible can you assist in anyway to get the 12 Thailand boys and their coach out of the cave. @elonmusk— MabzMagz (@MabzMagz) July 3, 2018
He further discussed ideas over Twitter with James Yenbamroong, CEO of Thai space startup mu Space Corp. on the possible ways that he could work in the rescue mission.
Looks like 1st bit of water is close enough to entrance to be pumped out. 2nd & 3rd would need battery packs, air pumps & tubes. If depth of 2nd is accurate, would need ~0.5 bar tube pressure. Prob need to enter tube, zip up & then transit.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
On Friday morning, Musk tweeted that his team of engineers is headed to Thailand to assist the rescue workers:
SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt. There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
While no official statement has been made by Musk or anyone from his company on what possible solutions will be utilized for the rescue operation, he definitely has got few hypothetical solutions including the insertion of “a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle. Should create an air tunnel underwater against cave roof & auto-conform to odd shapes like the 70cm hole.”
Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle. Should create an air tunnel underwater against cave roof & auto-conform to odd shapes like the 70cm hole.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
As of now, the latest update from Musk is that his team is in discussions with the cave experts in Thailand to design an escape pod.
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