Elon Musk sends SpaceX and Boring Company engineers to aid Thai cave rescue

6 Jul 2018

Tham Luang cave network, Thailand. Image: MemoryMan/Shutterstock

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has offered engineering expertise to help rescue a group of schoolboys trapped inside a northern Thailand cave.

12 schoolboys and their football coach are currently trapped inside the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand due to sudden torrential rain and floodwaters, which have obstructed their escape route. More heavy rain is predicted over the coming days, which will make the rescue mission decidedly more arduous.

In recent days, former Navy diver Saman Gunan died after delivering oxygen tanks to the children, exemplifying the dangerous nature of the mission.

Elon Musk offers his services

SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the possibility of sending some engineers from his firms to aid in rescue efforts. He also spoke about the potential of aiding the rescue by inserting a nylon tube into the cave, creating a type of underwater tunnel.

He suggested that The Boring Company could use its “advanced ground penetrating radar” and added that “fully charged Powerpacks and pumps” could help Thai rescue workers.

A Boring Company spokesperson said: “We are speaking with the Thai government to see how we can help, and we are sending SpaceX/Boring Company people from the US to Thailand today to offer support on the ground.

“Once we confirm what exactly will be helpful to send or do, we will. We are getting feedback and guidance from the people on the ground in Chiang Rai to determine the best way for us to assist their efforts.”

SpaceX has been in touch with Thai experts

James Yenbamroong, CEO and founder of Thai satellite communications firm Mu Space Corp, confirmed that SpaceX had contacted them to help connect to the Thai government.

According to ABC Australia, drilling expert Kelvin Brown – who helped rescue 33 Chilean miners in 2010 – said that drilling could be of use in the rescue effort. He said the soft rock of the Thai cave would be an advantage in the mission, but there was also the risk of loose rocks, high water pressure and extreme noise.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects