12 boys and their football coach have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave network in northern Thailand for the past two weeks, and it’s the kind of situation that makes you wish superheroes were real.
If Iron Man was around, he could just blast his way through the rock and fly the trapped boys out of there. So it’s nice that the closest thing we’ve got to Iron Man, Elon Musk, has offered to provide whatever assistance he can.
The Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company CEO was hit up on Twitter by user MabzMagz to see if he would “assist in any way to get the 12 Thailand boys and their coach out of the cave”.
A few hours later, the billionaire tech genius responded that he would be “happy to help if there is a way to do so”.
I suspect that the Thai govt has this under control, but I’m happy to help if there is a way to do so
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 4, 2018
As for just what assistance he could hope to render – the guy is in the business of rockets and electric cars these days, which aren’t exactly the kind of tech that springs to mind as being vital when trying to get people out of underground caves – Musk pointed to some of the developments he and his team at Boring Company have been working on.
“Boring Co has advanced ground penetrating radar & is pretty good at digging holes,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
“Don’t know if pump rate is limited by electric power or pumps are too smal (sic). If so, could dropship fully charged Powerpacks and pumps.”
Boring Co has advanced ground penetrating radar & is pretty good at digging holes. Don’t know if pump rate is limited by electric power or pumps are too smal. If so, could dropship fully charged Powerpacks and pumps.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2018
One could only hope that he can get stuck in, as the team and their coach’s situation is increasingly perilous.
They are cut off from exit by fast-running, ice-cold water. It is thought the best way to get them out is to either teach them all how to use scuba-diving equipment; simply wait out the rainy season and get them out when the water subsides; or pump as much water out as possible so that they can all keep their heads above water and swim out ASAP.
However, all three options have serious drawbacks.
Teaching 12 children to scuba dive is a difficult proposition even in a controlled environment, such as a swimming pool, so doing it in a fast-moving underground stream could end in disaster – particularly considering widespread reports that many of the boys can’t even swim, let alone scuba.
Waiting out the rainy season is the safest option in theory, except that it generally lasts until October, and some of the boys are said to already be in poor health. In dark, damp and cold conditions, illness can turn lethal fast.
Pumping the water out is probably the most appealing option, however, there are forecasts for more heavy rain this weekend, making it potentially a “two steps forward, three steps back situation”.
หลังได้ทานอาหารเพิ่มพลังงานที่หน่วยซีลดำน้ำนำเข้าไป และแพทย์ทหารที่ผ่านการฝึกในหลักสูตรนักทำลายใต้น้ำจู่โจมตรวจร่างกายทีมหมูป่าทุกคนแล้ว น้องๆส่งเสียงทักทายผู้คนที่รอคอยอยู่นอกถ้ำฝากมาครับ(บันทึกภาพ 03/07/18)#ทีมหมูป่าทีมSEAL#ThainavySEAL
Posted by Thai NavySEAL on Tuesday, 3 July 2018
It’s not a dire situation yet, but the longer it’s drawn out, the more likely it is that things will take a turn for the worse.
Whether it’s Musk, the Thai Navy SEALs or a completely unexpected solution, here’s hoping these poor kids and their coach are brought to safety soon.