Entrepreneur Elon Musk has proposed the insertion and inflation of a nylon tube into the cave network where 12 Thai schoolboys and their football coach are stranded.
Writing on Twitter, the CEO of SpaceX and chairman of Tesla Motors said: “Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle. Should create an air tunnel underwater against cave roof & auto-conform to odd shapes like the 70cm hole.”
The schoolboys from the Moo Pa Academy football team and their 25-year old coach went missing in the tunnel network located in Chiang Rai province on June 23, 2018.
They were found by two UK rescue divers and have since received food and medical treatment from a team of divers, including those from the Royal Thai Navy’s Underwater Demolition Assault Unit.
Since they were found questions have been raised about the best way to rescue the group, with ideas ranging from a guided swim with scuba gear to drilling through the approximately 800m of rock above the boys to create an escape shaft.
Efforts are ongoing to pump water out of the cave network but the very real threat of flooding exists with heavy monsoon rains forecast. Because of this, it has been proposed that the trapped group remains underground for four months until the monsoon is finished.
On Twitter Musk said: “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 small. If so, could dropship fully charged Powerpacks and pumps.”
Musk added: “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.”