Elon Musk’s cave rescue submarine may be used in future missions, says Thai military official

Tech billionaire's proposal to save trapped football team was previously dismissed as impractical 

Muktita Suhartono,Julia Jacobs
Friday 13 July 2018 10:03
Comments
Thai boys wave to camera in first video since cave rescue

Thailand may have use for Elon Musk’s “kid-sized” submarine after all.

The tech billionaire had designed the miniature submarine, built with rocket parts, to help save the 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand. On Tuesday, rescuers pulled off an improbable feat when they finished removing all 13 people from the Tham Luang Cave.

They saved the football team without the help of Musk’s submarine, which was built by engineers from his companies who travelled to the remote area of Thailand starting on Saturday.

The chief of the rescue mission had called the device “not practical” for the operation, which required squeezing through narrow passageways in the cave, but a Thai military official said the mini-submarine could be useful for future rescue missions.

Maj. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakham, the deputy commander to Thailand’s Third Army, said on Wednesday that the mini-submarine would be appropriate for use in open water and that he had heard the technology would be given to the Thai navy SEAL team.

In a tweet on Thursday, a translator based in Bangkok said engineers from SpaceX, Musk’s rocket company, trained members of the Thai navy to use the mini-submarine.

Dozens of Navy SEALs were involved in the rescue effort, and last week, a former Thai Navy SEAL lost consciousness and died while placing air canisters on a route within the cave being used in the rescue effort.

Musk responded to the photos of the training session on Twitter, saying the engineers were also getting feedback from British divers on how the technology could be improved. Representatives for Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Musk sent 10 engineers from SpaceX; Tesla, his electric car company; and the Boring Co., which specialises in tunnelling and construction.

As the Thai government celebrated the success of the mission and considered how they could use Musk’s quickly assembled invention, the 12 boys and their football coach were recovering under quarantine in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand. All were improving quickly, the country’s top public health official had said.

The New York Times

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in