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Elon Musk shares footage of mini-submarine built to help boys trapped in Thai cave

While it has been confirmed that four of boys trapped in the Thai cave network have now been saved, Elon Musk is continuing to offer ideas and assistance to the rescue operation.

Last week, after someone appealed to the tech billionaire on Twitter to help get the 12 boys and their soccer coach out of the cave network they had been trapped in for two weeks, Musk replied to say he was “happy to help”.

He went on to say that tech being developed at Boring Company could help dig holes and pump water out of the cave network.

In the intervening days, however, he has become far more involved, tossing out ideas such as creating an inflatable tunnel that would allow the boys to simply walk out of the caves without the need for scuba gear.

But his latest offer is a doozy – he wants to send in “a tiny, kid-size submarine”. And, far from simply being an idea that would totally help but probably take years to develop, Musk followed that up with video footage of a prototype of the device being used in a pool in LA.

As he explained in his tweet, the tiny submarine is actually “the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket”, which is the central core of one of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rockets.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy

A render of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

With a weight of around 40 kilograms, the tiny sub is said to be light enough to be carried and manoeuvered by two divers.

However, it appears the sub will not be in use for this particular rescue operation, with Thai authorities proceeding with their plan to get the kids out using more traditional scuba means.

“Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future,” Musk wrote in response.

In the meantime, Boring Co. is maintaining a presence in Thailand, a spokesperson saying they had four engineers on the ground “offering support in any way the government deems useful”.

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Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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