Watch Elon Musk’s Thai cave rescue submarine in action

Elon Musk/Twitter

The rescue operation to save a Thai soccer team from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non caves in northern Thailand began in earnest on Sunday, with an experienced team of divers rescuing four of the 13 members.

Before the current rescue mission began, Elon Musk tweeted that he was designing an “escape pod” built from “the liquid oxygen transfer tube” of a SpaceX Falcon rocket that could be used as a submarine. Musk, head of Tesla and the Boring Company, tweeted that the tube would be “light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps” and “extremely robust.”

On Sunday, Musk tweeted a series of videos showing a team of divers testing the pod in the swimming pool at Palisades Charter High School. The tweets show the submarine being slowly ferried underwater by a team of divers.

The last video shows the process of removing the submarine from the pool and the team unlocking the door, before the passenger, arms crossed, slides out. The diameter of the tube measures just 12.2 inches.  

Eight boys and their coach remain trapped in the caves, with rescue operations currently on hold after the first entry depleted resources. It remains unclear whether Musk’s submarine will be used to aid retrieval of the team but the SpaceX CEO also suggests the submarine could be modified for use as an “escape pod in space.”

The team of 12 boys and their coach entered the cave system on June 23, but torrential rain caused the water level within the cave to rise rapidly, forcing them to venture deeper. They eventually found a dry landing spot, where they waited for nine days before being found by two British divers.

It is expected that the rescue mission will resume in the next 12 hours.

Update 5:18 p.m.: Additional video added showing simulation through narrow passage

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