Tech billionaire Elon Musk recently went to Thailand and brought along a mini submarine to help in the rescue of 12 boys from a local soccer team. Musk tweeted that the sub is “made of rocket parts and named Wild Boars after kids’ soccer team.”
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 mini sub arrived a little too late, however, as all the trapped boys have already been rescued.
But even if the miniature submarine arrived on time, it would still be of no use for this particular mission. Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command center coordinating the Thailand cave rescue operation, said that “although his technology is good and sophisticated, it’s not practical for this mission.”
Osatanakorn didn’t explain why the submarine wasn’t suitable for the mission, but some experts believe that rescuers would have a hard time navigating the vessel through the cave’s choke points. The narrowest choke point is just under 15 inches high. Even if the submarine can fit through the narrowest choke point, rescuers would still need to carry it through the rocky above-water section.
In a subsequent tweet, Elon Musk explained that Osatanakorn was not the “subject matter expert” and that would be Dick Stanton, who co-led the dive rescue team. The tech mogul shared his correspondence with Stanton proving that the sub would still be of great help in the rescue mission.
Nevertheless, even without the mini submarine, the Thailand cave rescue mission was a success. Thanks to Thai and foreign rescuers and their support personnel, the 12 soccer players and their coach were finally rescued. Each boy had two divers helping him navigate through muddy water, darkness and oxygen-depleted air.
As for Elon Musk’s mini submarine, it will be left behind to be used in the future.