Billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted at the weekend to say he was working with cave experts to build a mini submarine out of rocket parts that he thought could help a rescue effort to free 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a flooded underground cave complex in Thailand.
In the last few minutes, it’s just been confirmed that an eleventh boy has been brought out of the cave complex by the divers. However Musk’s unasked for experimental ‘escape pod’ device has not been involved in the rescue mission — after being deemed impractical for conditions in the caves.
The Guardian reports the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, Narongsak Osatanakorn, telling reporters today: “Although [Musk’s] technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission.”
The complex rescue mission to extract the football team has been ongoing for several days, with an international team of rescue divers leading each boy individually out of the cave complex, fitted with a full-face scuba mask and carrying a supply of oxygen so they can pass through kilometers of tapering tunnels flooded with monsoon rains.
Musk himself apparently flew to Thailand, posting a video from inside one of the caves to his Instagram account…
Despite Musk’s escape pod idea proving impractical for the rescue effort, AFP reports that a spokesman for Thailand’s military junta thanked the billionaire for his offer of assistance and for taking a personal interest in the operation.
Musk tweeted earlier to say he would leave the sub in Thailand “in case it may be useful in the future”.