News & Opinion | July 9, 2018 11:59 am

Elon Musk Sends Mini Submarine to Rescue Boys Trapped in Thai Cave

Tech mogul had SpaceX team build vehicle from Falcon 9 liquid oxygen transfer tube.

soccer team
A family member shows a picture of four of the twelve missing boys near the Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai on July 2, 2018. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)
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Elon Musk and a team of SpaceX engineers built a mini submarine to try to help the youth soccer team and coach who were trapped in a Thai cave by rising waters. Eight of the boys have been rescued so far, and rescuers are now gearing up to get the final four boys and their coach out. They might use the submarine, which is built to accomodate a kid or small adult and features the liquid oxygen transfer tube of the Falcon 9 rocket as its hull, reports New Atlas. It weighs 88 pounds when dry, so is light enough to be carried across dry sections of the caves. According to Musk, it could make it through the cave’s so-called “choke point.”

The submarine was constructed in about eight hours and was tested in a Los Angeles pool with a person inside, including maneuvering through obstacles that replicate the cave’s narrowest passages.

News Atlas reports that the submarine is being flown to Thailand, but it’s not clear if it will reach the site in time or is even necessary now that rescuers have developed a successful dive strategy for extricating the boys.