Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk apologises for his comments on British diver

Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk apologises for his comments on British diver
PHOTO: Reuters

Tesla Inc founder Elon Musk apologised to British caver Vern Unsworth for comments he made about him following the rescue of a dozen Thai schoolboys and their football coach from a cave in northern Thailand.

"His actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologise to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader," Musk said in a tweet. "The fault is mine and mine alone."

Unsworth, who played a leading role in the rescue, said on Tuesday that he has been approached by British and American lawyers and will seek legal advice after Musk directed abuse at him on Twitter.

"I am aware of his apology, and no further comment," Unsworth told Reuters by phone on Wednesday after Musk's latest tweets.

on Twitter

Asked if there would be a financial settlement over the matter or if he was still considering legal action, Unsworth said he would make no further comment.

Also asked how he had heard of the apology, he repeated he had no further comment.

Musk, chief executive of the electric car maker Tesla Inc, offered a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to help extract the youth football team and the coach from the labyrinth of partly flooded passages.

However, the rescue team of elite divers and others rejected his proposal, and a war of words erupted when CNN quoted Unsworth as saying the submarine "had absolutely no chance of working" and was "just a PR stunt".

Musk responded on Twitter, saying: "We will make one (video) of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problem. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it."

The Tweet was later deleted.

Musk said in his tweet on Wednesday that his words were "spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader."

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, are expected to leave hospital in Chiang Rai on Wednesday and hold a news conference in the evening.

ALSO READ: Thai cave rescue: British diver says he has been approached by lawyers over Elon Musk's 'pedo' comment

ALSO READ: Elon Musk says he's in Thailand with mini-sub for cave rescue

Thai cave rescue: How each boy is extracted in complex process

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    The 10-km long Tham Luang cave, which has been described as a labyrinth, sits near the Thai border with Myanmar.

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    Rescue divers began operations on Sunday (July 8) to extract the 12 boys and their football coach from the massive Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

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    Here's how the 12 boys might dive and walk out of the complex cave network. (Graphic Not drawn to scale)

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    The boys are located more than 4km from the mouth of the cave. Most of the boys don't know how to swim.

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    According to experts, divers required three hours to reach the boys from the mouth of the cave, Reuters reported. The boys' ordeal is expected to last 3 or more hours.

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    This undated handout photo taken recently and released by the Royal Thai Navy on July 7, 2018 shows a Thai Navy diver in the cave during rescue operations.

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    The boys will have to first dive for 400m before reaching Pattaya Beach, a chamber more than 4km from the cave's entrance. Then, they have to dive for another 130m before walking and climbing along a 400m-long dry area.

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    The first, nearly 1km-long section from where the boys have been huddling in darkness is believed to be the most difficult, requiring a long dive and crawling through mud and debris, with some crevices barely wide enough for a person.

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    The 5-km escape route cuts through dark, flooded and narrow passageways, as this still from a video circulating online shows.

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    How each boy will be tethered to the 2 adult rescue divers. Once past the first stretch, the boys' escape route forks east at a T-junction, and they must scrabble over some diverse terrain including giant boulders, sand and slippery rocks with sudden cliff-like drops and further submerged passageways.

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    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

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    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

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    "The hole is really small, I have to take off my air tank to crawl through it," a 25-year-old Thai Navy Seal told Reuters before the rescue attempt. "As I do, I feel the edges of the hole on both my back and chest."

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    Rescue divers will have to remove their scuba tanks and roll them along while guiding the boys through. After that though, the tunnels widen, the waters subside, and walking is even possible.

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    There are several 'choke points' in the complex cave network. After the dreaded T-junction, the rest of the journey is expected to be relatively safe as they will have reached a forward operating base inside the cave.

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    Ambulances wait at the mouth of the cave to whisk the boys away to hospital when they emerge.

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    Divers resuming the rescue mission on Monday (July 9).

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    Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover around a stretcher near a helicopter and an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018.

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    Rescuers venturing into the cave in a photo released on July 7 by the Thai Royal Navy.

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    The high-risk operation at the Tham Luang caves paused overnight on Sunday (July 8) as rescuers recovered and oxygen tanks were replenished along the route.

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    Torchlight only affords visibility up to three feet in the murky waters.

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    A nearby hospital ready to receive the boys after they are rescued.

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