WASHINGTON: SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday said a team he had sent for the Thailand cave rescue operations is working closely with experts from the country on an escape capsule design to bring the 12 school children and their football coach trapped in a partially flooded cave to safety. “Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try,” Musk tweeted on Saturday.
“Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does,” he added. The schoolchildren and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand for almost two weeks now.
The boys went missing on June 23 after they had entered the cave in the Chiang Rai region during fine weather but became trapped when a sudden downpour flooded the narrow tunnels. As the boys are getting more and more exhausted due to drop in oxygen levels, and heavy rains being forecast for this weekend, authorities in the country fear that time is running out to save them, Space.com reported on Friday.
So far, around 1,000 people have got involved in the rescue operations, including navy divers, military personnel and civilian volunteers, as reported by the BBC. Alarmed by the urgency, Musk earlier announced on Twitter that engineers from his SpaceX and Boring Company, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems, would head to Thailand on Saturday to help the government in the rescue operations.
“There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person,” he added. Tragically, a former Thai Navy diver who joined the ongoing rescue operations died on Friday. Saman Gunan, 38, lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex after delivering supplies and could not be revived, reported the BBC.