Elon Musk Sub ‘Impractical,’ Won’t Be Used

Elon Musk’s mini-submarine being tested in a pool in Los Angeles, California. Photo: @Elonmusk / Twitter

CHIANG RAI — A mini-submarine delivered by an American tech magnate won’t be used in the evacuation of the remaining four boys and man still stuck in Tham Luang, the lead rescue official said Tuesday.

Although Elon Musk flew Monday night to Chiang Rai to donate a child-sized submarine in hope it could be used for the rescue, which was already about two-thirds successful, Narongsak Osottanakorn said it wouldn’t work.

Update: That’s Ten: Another Boy Rescued From Cave

“The equipment he gave us is not practical for our mission,” Narongsak said Tuesday morning. “His equipment is technologically complex and advanced, but we cannot bring it into the cave for this mission.”


Musk tweeted at 5am that he had visited Chamber No. 3 of the cave and would be leaving the mini-submarine there for use in this or future rescue operations.

“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,” he tweeted at 5am.

Musk also briefly met junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang Airport, as the prime minister waited for a flight back to Bangkok, according to Gen. Anupong Paochinda who spoke Tuesday at Government House. Their conversation reportedly lasted about 30 minutes before Musk left for the cave.

Elon Musk Monday night in Chiang Rai. Photo: @Nammtoei / Twitter

Anuphong said the two spoke about helping the remaining people out of the cave. He said Prayuth encouraged Musk to invest in the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor. Musk then said he would return to Thailand in the future.

The American then went to the cave site where he and his engineers delivered the submarine and gave engineering advice, according to a group of local surveyors.

A Facebook page run by geographers surveying the cave, wrote about the SpaceX team’s visit.

“Thank you Elon for providing us lots of useful equipments and guidances from your engineering team. It’s an honor for our Thai Geographer team lead who joined the meeting last night. We wish you have a beautiful time in Thailand,” read the post written in English.

Meanwhile on Twitter, netizens had much to say about the space tech magnate’s visit, racking up more than 90,000 tweets about Musk and making it one of the top trending tags as of Tuesday morning. Most Thais expressed excitement that a big name came to visit and donated high-tech equipment.

“Elon Musk, who the whole world honors as a real-life Iron Man, came in person quietly to give us a submarine for the Wild Boars. He made plans about rescuing the kids quietly and even left quietly,” twitter user @Saigonbear wrote.

“Mr. Elon Musk gave us a tiny sub and named it the Wild Boar! He left it here in case we can use it in the future. Thank you so much, Elon Musk,” @Junkojang tweeted.

“Thailand got a chance to meet world-famous people in places we never thought we would see them. For example, we found Mark Zuckerberg in a Thonglor pub or Elon Musk to help the Wild Boar kids at Tham Luang in Chiang Rai,” @evoflo wrote.

Many, however, expressed distaste that Musk’s visit was a PR stunt – especially with half the boys rescued and no plans to use his submarine.


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