BANGKOK: American tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has proposed a mini-submarine to save the boys trapped inside a flooded Thai cave, floating the idea on social media while linking it to his space exploration business.
After garnering headlines with initial ideas of installing a giant air tube inside the cave complex and using his firm’s penetrating radar to dig holes to reach the boys, Musk’s latest concept is the pod.
“Primary path is basically a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull,” Musk said in a tweet to his 22 million followers.
“Light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps. Extremely robust.”
An accompanying video of people testing the submarine in a swimming pool in Los Angeles that was posted overnight Sunday attracted more than 3.1 million views in 10 hours.
Many people offered positive comments, with fans hailing Musk and his engineers for their creativity.
The mini-submarine is due to arrive in Thailand on Monday, Musk wrote.
“With some mods, this could also work as an escape pod in space,” Musk said on Twitter.
Thai authorities have said they are welcoming all offers of help in the rescue effort for the boys, who became trapped in a complex cave system in mountainous northern Thailand on June 23 when rising waters hemmed them in.
Twelve boys aged from 11 to 16, plus their 25-year-old coach, were caught inside the cave.
Elite divers began a rescue mission Sunday, successfully escorting four of them out, and were aiming to extract the others swiftly before fresh monsoon rains made escape impossible.
Musk refused to answer questions from analysts on the electric vehicle maker’s capital requirements
Tesla’s future depends on Model 3 and the company says that it has largely overcome production bottlenecks
He is already the electric car maker’s largest shareholder and now owns 33.74 million shares worth about $11.6 billion
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