Thai official: Elon Musk’s submarine “not practical for this mission”

On Tuesday, divers in Thailand completed the rescue of all 12 boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave. And they did it without the aid of a tiny “submarine” that Elon Musk developed for possible use in the rescue mission.

Musk had a team of SpaceX engineers working feverishly over the weekend to construct the device. Thai officials began the rescue operation before Musk’s team had completed his work. But Musk decided to complete the device anyway and personally flew to Thailand to deliver it to the rescue site.

According to The Guardian, when Musk arrived with his device, Thai officials made it clear that it wasn’t needed. “Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command center coordinating the rescue effort. At that point, Thai officials had already finished rescuing at least eight of the 12 boys, and were already planning the third and final rescue mission.

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Elon Musk built a “submarine” to rescue Thailand kids—here’s what it looks like

Scuba divers in Thailand have already rescued four of the 12 boys who have been stranded, along with their coach, in a flooded cave. And they are hoping to rescue the rest in the next couple of days. But in the meantime, Elon Musk has continued working on alternative strategies divers could use if conventional diving proves too difficult the remaining boys.

On Saturday, Musk settled on the idea of building “a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull.” He ordered SpaceX engineers to begin building the device, saying that it could be ready by the end of the day on Saturday.

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Elon Musk making “kid-sized submarine” to rescue teens in Thailand cave

Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that a team of SpaceX engineers is hours away from completing work on a “tiny kid-sized submarine” that could be used to extract 12 teenagers and preteens who are stranded with their soccer coach in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk has had a team of engineers working on the problem for the last couple of days and has been keeping the world updated on the work via Twitter.

On Thursday night, Musk tweeted about an idea to use an inflatable nylon tube to help the kids escape. By Friday afternoon, Musk’s thinking had evolved. He tweeted that his team was working on building “double-layer Kevlar pressure pods with Teflon coating to slip by rocks.” A mid-day tweet on Saturday provided another update:

And this isn’t just a theory: Musk says that his team is building the contraption now. “Construction complete in about 8 hours, then 17 hour flight to Thailand,” Musk tweeted just before noon, California time.

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Elon Musk has an idea for saving boys stranded in a Thailand cave

Elon Musk is sending a team of engineers to Thailand to see if they can help authorities racing to save a dozen boys and their coach who are stranded in a cave there.

“SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt,” Musk tweeted just after midnight, California time, on Thursday night. “There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person.”

“Boring Co has advanced ground penetrating radar & is pretty good at digging holes,” Musk wrote in an earlier tweet on Thursday.

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