What just happened? A Thailand government search party recently tracked down a boys' soccer team that had been missing for 11 days. Rescuers found them deep in a flooded cave system, huddled in a pocket of air. As the cave's oxygen levels rapidly deplete, Elon Musk has decided to step in. The CEO has dispatched SpaceX and Boring Company engineers to aid rescuers.
If you haven't been keeping an eye on non-tech news lately, you could be forgiven for not being up-to-speed on a recent dilemma in Thailand.
For the unaware, a boys' soccer team was recently found trapped deep in a Thai cave system. The team, along with its coach, was going on a field trip when they decided to explore a nearby cave.
Unfortunately, nearby waters rose and flooded the cave, forcing the team to hide in a large pocket of air. They were stranded there for over a week before two divers found them.
The rescue effort has proven to be much more complicated than Thai authorities first anticipated. Though they've pumped as much water from the area as possible, it's still too dangerous for the government to extract the team safely. Some of the trapped boys don't know how to swim, much less scuba dive.
...rainfall could result in additional cave flooding, making the prospect of rescue even more dangerous.
To make matters worse, rainfall could result in additional cave flooding, making the prospect of rescue even more dangerous. Indeed, according to CNN, one navy diver who was helping authorities with the rescue tragically passed away when he ran out of air underwater.
With this danger in mind, Thailand officials have prepared several months of supplies in case the rescue team is forced to wait for water levels to drop.
As the situation goes from bad to deadly, Elon Musk has decided to step in to assist. In a tweet published this morning, the tech CEO said he sent SpaceX and Boring Company engineers to Thailand to see if they could be of use during the rescue operation.
SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt. There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
Musk believes a Tesla Powerpack could help rescuers pump water out of the cave at a much faster rate. He also discussed the possibility of using a nylon tube to pump breathable oxygen into the cave.
Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle. Should create an air tunnel underwater against cave roof & auto-conform to odd shapes like the 70cm hole.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
Regardless of whether or not Musk and his team will be able to help, it's nice to see wealthy tech entrepreneurs putting their resources to good use.