News & Politics

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Sends Engineers to Assist with Thai Cave Rescue Effort

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand.(Royal Thai Navy via AP)

See below for update.

SpaceX pioneer Elon Musk joined in the effort to help rescue the 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand as time appears to be running out for them. Musk has proposed, among other things, using a sort of air-filled bouncy castle to extract the boys from the cave.

The young men, members of a football team, became trapped, along with their coach, in the Tham Luang cave complex nearly two weeks ago when heavy rains began to fill the cave with water. The boys have been in contact with rescue divers who have been able to take them supplies, but one Thai Navy SEAL died on Thursday trying to deliver oxygen to them.

Musk’s involvement began on Twitter, with a fan in Swaziland requesting his help.

The next day, Musk responded, and a conversation about strategies for rescuing the boys ensued.

The Boring Company is a tunnel construction company founded by Musk in 2016.

James Yenbamroong, the founder of Mu Space Corp, a Thai satellite startup, offered to help coordinate with the Thai government:

Musk then began to brainstorm in real time on Twitter:

At this point, Musk appeared to be all in.

Yenbamroon then began to map out some logistics.

Someone going by the Twitter handle “chiefpad” added:

Asked and answered by Musk:

Next came a physicist who works at NASA who shared a diagram showing how it could work:

“Ladykayaker” had a practical concern:

Yenbamroom with pictures and diagrams:

Finally, it was decided that SpaceX and Boring Co. engineers would indeed be heading to Thailand:

More on the logistics:

The boys are in dire circumstances right now. Rescuers are battling not only the water in the cave, but also an air supply that appears to be dwindling. The boys are not good swimmers, and at this point, they would likely be too weak to walk out of the cave on their own, even if the water levels dropped considerably. Rescuers are watching the sky as monsoon rains in the forcast could further hamper rescue efforts.

Let’s all hope and pray that this has a happy outcome for the boys and their rescuers alike.

Update 9:46 a.m. EST: Six of the boys have now been rescued from the cave. The Daily Mail reports:

Half of the soccer team trapped inside a flooded Thai cave have now been brought out after divers executed a carefully constructed rescue mission.

But divers won’t be rescuing any more children tonight, the Thai Public Broadcast Service announced this evening. It reported: ‘Only six of the boys will be taken out tonight.’

Update 1:09 p.m. EST: Only four of the twelve boys have been rescued, according to the Daily Mail.

Four players from the missing Thai football team that became trapped inside a flooded cave have been rescued after divers pulled off a complex rescue mission while racing against the clock.

Thirty-five emergency doctors were on standby as the ‘exhausted’ boys were flown by military helicopter or driven in ambulances to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

Divers will not be rescuing the remaining eight children tonight, the Thai Public Broadcast Service announced, reporting: ‘Only six of the boys will be taken out tonight.’

However, authorities later confirmed they had only been able to rescue four boys, instead of the planned six.