'Mini-sub ready if needed': Elon Musk tweets from Thai cave

Elon Musk has confirmed that his “mini-sub” is on standby and ready if required to help remove the remaining four boys and their coach trapped in the flooded cave in northern Thailand.

The CEO of SpaceX took to Twitter to reveal he had visited cave three, where the boys are trapped.

He said the submarine, which is made of rocket parts, is named “Wild Boar after the kid’s soccer team”.

“Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful,” he wrote.

It comes one day after he shared vision of the submarine, capable of carrying a child through the treacherous passageways of the cave complex, simulating an underwater manoeuvre.

Elon Musk tweeted a photo from outside the Tham Luan Nang Non cave saying he is leaving his mini-sub for the rescue team. Source: Twitter/Elon Musk
Musk said he had just visited cave three and delivered the mini-sub he named Wild Boar.  Source: Twitter/Elon Musk

Musk’s efforts to assist in the rescue mission comes as the eight freed boys recuperate in hospital after spending more than two weeks seeking refuge on a tiny patch of higher ground in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave complex.

Another five still await rescue, including the team’s 25-year old coach.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and international divers including Australians who, in pairs of two, executed the dangerous rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous four-kilometre-long escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

Chiang Rai province’s acting governor, Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue, voiced confidence on Monday in the ongoing operation, provided the weather doesn’t take a turn for the worse.

Narongsak said Monday’s rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues on Sunday.

“We have more expertise than yesterday,” he said.

Two ambulances carrying the sixth and seventh boys freed from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave site to a hospital in Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018 in Chiang Rai. Source: Getty

But bringing out the remaining four boys and their coach could take more than one operation, Narongsak warned.

All preparations, including replacing the oxygen cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said. The safety of the divers, who have meticulously planned the mission, is also paramount.

“If Phra Pirun helps us, we might be able to do it very quickly,” Narongsak said, again invoking the god of rain, who is widely revered in Thailand. “But if Phra Pirun doesn’t help, then it might be a little late.”