Can Elon Musk lend a hand to Thailand's cave rescue efforts?

07 July, 2018, 09:33 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Image Source RUNGROJ YONGRIT  EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock

Last year, the Puerto Rican government asked Musk for help when the island was ravaged by hurricanes that caused an island-wide blackout.

Proposed "buddy dive' plan to rescue boys in Thai cave could launch this weekendThai officials say the 12 boys stranded inside the cave are strong enough to walk but can't swim safely yet".

He added: "Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most hard sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle".

The founder of The Boring Company told his 22million followers: "SpaceX and Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt".

Then early today (July 6), Musk pledged to send a team of engineers to help.

The project met its deadline which, if it had been missed, Musk had said would have cost him "probably $50 million or more".

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The team went on a short hike but a monsoon trapped them with few options for getting out. Musk theorised that it could be possible to pump air through nylon tubes to create an artificial pocket of air against the roof of the flooded tunnels.

The reason for the shift is not clear, but Musk's tweets have driven business in the past.

The Thai government confirmed on its Facebook page that Musk's engineers will begin assisting the rescue mission on Saturday, when more heavy rains are expected to complicate the already extremely delicate operation. "Don't know if pump rate is limited by electric power or pumps are too small", he said.

Musk said his Boring Co, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems, had advanced ground penetrating radar, and suggested an air tunnel constructed with soft tubing like a Bouncy Castle could provide flexible passage out.

Rescuers have also explored digging a hole into the cave system to reach the boys.

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