Economy

Elon Musk tweets demo of mini-submarine to rescue Thai cave boys

Elon Musk tweets demo of mini-submarine to rescue Thai cave boys

It was 10am (4am United Kingdom time) when officials chose to begin what one expert said was "beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most complex rescue ever attempted in the caving world".

His updates came after United States and Thai officials confirmed Sunday that four boys had been rescued from a flooded cave network after spending 15 days trapped along with their soccer team and coach.

According to the previous medical aid plan, the footballers would be kept in the hospital's well-equipped sterile isolation room for one to two days after being brought out before their parents and relatives could see and visit them.

The cave system, in a limestone mountain range bordering Myanmar in northern Thailand, has proven to be a formidable challenge for the worldwide rescue coalition drawing some of the world's best divers who have volunteered to help in the operation alongside Thai Navy SEALs.

The rescue operation is racing time and the weather during Thailand's rainy season.

After considering a "bouncy castle" air tube that the kids might be able to wriggle through to safety, Musk and his team settled on the idea of building a kid-sized submarine, equipped with external air tanks.

Earlier Thai's Navy SEALS said that three boys had been rescued, and officials later told Reuters and AFP that six boys had been saved.

But the head of the mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, yesterday suggested they would try in the coming days, even though the boys were weak and had no previous diving experience.

Thai authorities told media today to leave a camp site near the cave where 12 boys and their coach have been trapped for more than two weeks so that "victims" could be helped, possibly signalling a long-awaited rescue effort to get them out.

She said members of the 353rd U.S. Special Operations Group and U.S. military pararescue teams, survival specialists, divers and medical personnel are on the ground in support of the Thai-led worldwide rescue effort.

Musk said on Twitter the aluminum sub would be tested until Sunday midafternoon California time before being placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand.

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The Thai navy SEALs gave the boys crash courses in using diving masks and breathing underwater.

The British Cave Rescue Council, which has sent seven divers to assist in the rescue, said the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL last Friday as he dived within the cave was a reminder of the risks.

Meanwhile, a letter of apology from the coach of the football team was delivered to the boys' parents via the cave divers. Thailand's Meteorological Department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week, the Associated Press reported.

The story of the "Wild Boars" soccer team, who first ventured into the caves more than two weeks ago before flood waters trapped them inside, has gripped Thai and global media.

Thailand has waited anxiously for news of the safe return of the boys and their 25-year-old coach since they became trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex on June 23, in a saga that has dominated global headlines. Time is of the essence, though, as heavy monsoons are expected to cause a rise in water levels in the cave.

He added doctors assessed they were "very fit physically and mentally".

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

"We, the Thai team and the worldwide team, will bring the Wild Boars home", read the message, referring to the name of the boys' soccer team. On Sunday, he tweeted videos showing the submarine being submerged in the Palisades Charter High School swimming pool in Los Angeles.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public on Saturday.

"Don't be anxious, I miss everyone". "I want to say thanks for all the support, and I want to apologize".