The British cave diver publicly called a “pedo” by tech billionaire Elon Musk is considering taking legal action against the Tesla CEO.
Following the successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thai cave earlier this month, Musk criticized the rescuers for declining to use a contraption he’d built to assist in the rescue — a “kid-sized” submarine.
Vernon Unsworth , one of the key personnel in the rescue of the boys and their coach from the Tham Luang cave complex, later told CNN in an interview, however, that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” and that “it just has absolutely no chance of working.”
Musk then specifically singled out Unsworth, pushing back against his comment that the submarine wouldn’t have made it even 50 metres into the cave passage, and challenged him to share video of the rescue to back up his claims.
“You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way into Cave 5 no probmelo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” read Musk’s tweet.
The tweet was later deleted.
Before the rescue began, Musk tweeted that he would send a team of engineers to help with the extraction of the team from the cave. He later posted videos of the solution they’d concocted — a mini-submarine that Musk claimed was capable of travelling all the way into the cave, and carrying the boys out to safety one by one.
Rescuers and Thai officials thanked Musk for his efforts, but regretfully had to decline on account of the device being “not practical.”
Last week, Narongsak Osottanakorn, the leader of the rescue operation in Thailand, rejected Musk’s mini-submarine as not suitable for the task. Musk responded on Twitter on July 10, calling Osottanakorn “not the subject matter expert.”
Shortly after the exchange between the Tesla and SpaceX CEO and the British rescuer, Musk began receiving backlash for his tweets, and Tesla’s stock fell by almost three per cent on Monday. Tesla shares closed at $310.10 before rising 1.9 per cent in after-hours trading.
Musk gave no evidence for alleging Unsworth was a pedophile. Unsworth said he would consider taking legal action against Musk over the remarks, in comments filmed in Chiang Rai on Monday by Australia’s 9News.
Unsworth’s wife said Monday that her husband was returning to Britain on July 19, where he will speak to lawyers, Reuters reports.
— With files from Reuters.