Elon Musk sends “kid-size submarine” to help rescue boys trapped in Thai cave

Tech inventor Elon Musk has developed a “tiny, kid-size submarine” that could help rescue the four boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.


Tech inventor Elon Musk has developed a “tiny, kid-size submarine” that could help rescue the four boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.

Musk said the submarine, which is made from the liquid oxygen tube of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket, is small enough to fit through the cave system’s narrow passageways. Musk posted several videos to his Twitter account that show the submarine being tested in a swimming pool.

The 31cm-wide custom submarine would make the boys passive participants in the rescue and could potentially shorten the journey, which took divers a total of nine hours in the second successful rescue operation on Monday. Musk said the submarine is expected to arrive in Thailand around 11 p.m. Monday, local time.

It’s been more than two weeks since the 12 boys and their soccer coach became trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai. Last week, Musk sent engineers from two of his companies, SpaceX and Boring Co., to assist Thai officials in the rescue effort, which comprises a large team of international diving, engineering and medical experts, among other professionals.


Thai Navy SEAL medics reach and assist 12 boys and their soccer coach, trapped inside Tham Luang Nang Non cave.
 (Credit: Royal Thai Navy)

The eight boys who’ve been rescued so far have all swum out of the cave, each escorted by two expert divers. The rescue effort is slowed somewhat by the fact that the team must replenish supplies and oxygen tanks that line the 2.5-mile route out of the cave.

On Sunday, officials said it could “take days” to rescue the remaining boys and their coach.

It’s unclear whether Thai officials will opt to use Musk’s submarine to rescue the four remaining boys and their soccer coach. If not, the inventor already has other ideas for the device.

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