On Saturday, July 7th, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company was working on a small submersible that might be useful in helping to rescue the trapped soccer team in Thailand. At the time of this writing, scuba divers have already rescued eight of the twelve trapped soccer players. Musk, however, went ahead with the production of the submersible, saying it may yet help in the rescue effort. In any event, such a vessel could be helpful in future scenarios like this, should another rescue need to be undertaken.
The Trapped Team
The team became trapped in the cave while exploring it after a soccer match. While they were inside the cave, monsoon rains surprised them and flooded significant portions of the cave, trapping them inside. They were trapped in the cave on June 23rd, which means they’ve been trapped for nearly two weeks at the time of this writing. On Friday, July 6th, one of the volunteer rescue workers, a former Thai Navy SEAL, died during the rescue effort. This has underscored just how dangerous the rescue effort is, and how much peril the boys are in.
The Submersible Created by Elon Musk and SpaceX
The submersible was created from the liquid oxygen transfer tube of a Falcon rocket. The idea behind the vessel is that it could be an alternative for divers to try if conventional rescue methods prove ineffective. For instance, if any of the boys are too tired or not aware enough to swim on their own. In such a case, the vessel could allow even an unconscious passenger to be pulled to safety by divers.
However, the presence of such a large, metal vessel could prove dangerous to both the divers and the passenger. The cramped cave has some choke points so narrow that divers have to remove their oxygen tanks to slip through. While the tank might be just narrow enough to slip through, it could cause some complications.
As the team has already rescued most of the boys, it seems their strategy is working. Thankfully, they have access to this technology now, should it be needed. Here’s hoping everyone is safely rescued, and no more of the rescue team is hurt in the effort.
Feature Image Credit: SpaceX