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Elon Musk Is Sending Engineers To Help With The Thai Soccer Team Stuck In A Cave

Engineers from Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX and tunnel construction company Boring Co. are headed to Thailand tomorrow, according to Musk.

Posted on July 6, 2018, at 3:35 p.m. ET

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

On Friday, billionaire Elon Musk tweeted that engineers from two companies he founded — SpaceX and the Boring Company — were heading to Thailand to aid in the rescue efforts of a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave.

The 12 teen boys and their coach were found alive Monday in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in Northern Thailand, but rescue efforts have been thwarted by the region's monsoon season, and it could take months to retrieve the group.

A Boring Co. spokesperson confirmed the trip in an emailed statement: "Some SpaceX and Boring Company engineers are on the way now and more are leaving for Thailand in the next 24 hours. We are in active conversations with the Thai government and people on the ground to determine how we can best assist their efforts." The spokesperson did not specify the number of engineers headed to Thailand.

@JamesWorldSpace SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt. There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person.

A SpaceX engineer currently in Thailand is also traveling to the region to provide aid, according to Musk.

Local teams are attempting to drain water from the cave with a series of pipes snaking through the 6-mile-long complex. In a tweet, Musk said that the Boring Co., which is working to develop underground tunnel infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion, has "advanced ground penetrating radar & is pretty good at digging holes," and suggested the company's pumps and Tesla battery packs as a potential solution.

@MabzMagz 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.

The boys and their coach are believed to be around 1.2 miles into the cave, and half a mile underground. The rescue mission is complicated and dangerous. Samarn Poonan, a former member of Thailand elite Navy SEAL team, died after running out of oxygen inside the cave while laying down oxygen tanks along the escape route, according to authorities. Heavy rains are also expected over the weekend, which could potentially flood the protected area where the team is trapped.

@elonmusk This image makes it simple. Critical 70cm area is at the center. Several dives and two rest areas in between before getting to strong 13 Thais. You probably need several inserts if going with air funnel solution https://t.co/1Pz6vd7U4N

After reviewing the graphic above, Musk suggested that the first flooded entrance could be drained, while the second and third would require "battery packs, air pumps and tubes."

@JamesWorldSpace Looks like 1st bit of water is close enough to entrance to be pumped out. 2nd & 3rd would need battery packs, air pumps & tubes. If depth of 2nd is accurate, would need ~0.5 bar tube pressure. Prob need to enter tube, zip up & then transit.

James Yenbamroong, founder of mu Space Corp, an Asian satellite company, confirmed on Twitter that SpaceX representatives reached out to him for help in connecting with the Thai government. Yenbamroong and the Thai Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CORRECTION

A previous version of this article misstated the name of the mu Space Corp satellite company.


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