Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Elon Musk visits Thai cave, brings his kid-submarine

Elon Musk visits Thai cave, brings his kid-submarine

With rain again pounding the cave site in a mountainous region in northern Thailand on Tuesday morning, rescuers said they were aiming to bring out the remaining four boys and their coach by the evening.

Earlier, Narongsak said he was optimistic the remaining people inside the cave would be "brought out at the same time today". After they were found on July 2, officials cautioned it could take some time to get them out, but with heavy rain forecast to hit the region authorities chose to act. "Two days, eight Boars", read a Facebook post by the Thai navy SEALS about the operation that began Sunday, more than two weeks after the Wild Boars soccer team became trapped. Narongsak Osottanakorn followed a similar protocol on day one and day two of the rescue, withholding confirmation until the mission for the day had ended. A massive worldwide search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osotthanakorn, former governor of Chiang Rai, made the announcement at the Pong Pha tambon administration organisation near the cave on Tuesday morning. "It will be longer than previous ones", the post says in Thai and English.

At a news conference, Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food. But "if everything goes right, we will see four kids and the doctor and the [three] SEALs that have stayed with the kids all come". "We will celebrate together finally".

Two of the boys are thought to have lung infections, but there are no serious complaints to report.

As of Tuesday morning, the last of the group have spent almost 16 days underground after being trapped by floodwaters in the cave in northern Thailand. Other divers were on guard along the unsafe first kilometer of the passageway. The teams have risked their lives to deliver supplies and food to the children and their coach, and divers have been teaching the boys ― some of whom don't even know how to swim ― diving and breathing techniques to prepare them for their harrowing journey home.

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Divers lead four of the boys out of the cave as night falls, sending them to the hospital.

Despite being told by the head of the rescue operation that the submarine was not practical for the rescue mission, Musk stated he was leaving the submarine "here in case it may be useful in the future".

His rocket company SpaceX has developed a "tiny, kid-size submarine" to help with the rescue and Musk said it was "ready if needed".

But the boys are unlikely to be well enough to take up FIFA's invitation to watch the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday but will be allowed to watch it on television.

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 offered his idea for the mini-sub. They are all members of a youth soccer team called the Wild Boars.

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