Musk sends engineers to help Thai boys trapped in cave

Elon Musk speaks at Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air Los Angeles

Elon Musk speaks at Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air Los Angeles California

"Construction complete in about 8 hours, then 17 hour flight to Thailand", he said in one of a series of Twitter messages.

Effectively, the plan is to build a two person mini-sub out of rocket parts from SpaceX.

The latest data shows that the most challenging section for the boys to dive out is about 200 metres long, next to the so-called Pattaya Beach where the floodwater is estimated to be 5-10 metres deep.

Mr Musk has also been engaged in a Twitter spat over media coverage of Tesla, in particular with CNBC and Business Insider. He's promising that the sub would be "extremely robust" - small enough to get through the tight cave network, and light enough to be carried by two divers.

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In a string of follow-up tweets, Musk specified that the submarine would be fitted with eight hitch points, four in front and four in the rear, and four air tanks, connected to ensure against leaks. "Human character at its best".

He also raised the possibility of a nylon tube being inserted into the cave to inflate it with air "like a bouncy castle". The tubes and pods are being built in the United States, a spokesman said. Some equipment is travelling with the team and some will be express-shipped.

Musk wrote in response that the water near the entrance looks like it could be pumped out. "Training unnecessary & less susceptible to panic attack".

Another option is to continue exploring for a natural cave shaft through which the boys could be airlifted so that they could avoid diving.

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Musk tweeted on Saturday: "Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand".

Each plan is being met by hard obstacles; the inflatable tube could turn catastrophic if punctured, and any attempt to drill could take months to reach the chasm.

"Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does".

On Friday, a former Thai navy diver lost consciousness and died while placing oxygen canisters on a route within the cave being used in the rescue effort.

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He added that the rains had stopped in the past few days, giving the rescue operation some space to make several areas in the cave dry enough for rescue workers to access.

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