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A British cave diver who played an important role in rescue of 12 boys and their football coach who had been trapped inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai has hit out at Elon Musk’s attempt to get involved in the rescue operation.
Vern Unsworth, who was reportedly the one who first called for fellow British divers Rick Stanton, John Volanthen and Robert Harper to become involved in the search for the missing group, has branded Elon Musk’s offer of help as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
While the rescue operation was in full swing, Musk tweeted to say his company had built a “kid sized submarine” that could be used to rescue the kids from the cave.
Just a day later, Musk posted a video on Instagram to reveal that he had been inside the cave with his submarine
“Just returned from Cave 3,” Musk said.
“Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future.”
However, in an interview with CNN, Mr Unsworth said that Musk’s submarine “had absolutely no chance of working”.
When asked his thoughts on Elon Musk’s submarine Mr Unsworth replied: “He can stick his submarine where it hurts”.
“He [Elon Musk] had absolutely no concept of what the cave passage was like.
Mr Unsworth explained that because the submarine was 5ft 6 long and rigid it would have been unable to go round the obstacle and tight passageways inside the cave.
It was “just a PR stunt”.
Mr Unsworth also said that despite Elon Musk arriving at the cave last Tuesday, he was “asked to leave very quickly”.
Also in the interview with CNN, Mr Unsworth, who is believed to be based in Chaing Rai, played down suggestions that he was a hero.
“They are all calling us heroes, but we were here and we did the job. So everyone’s happy.”
“I was actually scheduled to go into the cave on June 24 anyway,” Unsworth told CNN.
“I got all my gear ready, and I was going in to do a solo trip just to see what the water levels were like. And I got called out at 2 o’clock Sunday morning, and I was there for the whole 17 days.”
He also said that the kids nor the coach could be blamed for becoming trapped.
These kids were just totally unlucky. Wrong place, wrong time,” he said.
“It happened very quick. You can’t blame the coach, you can’t blame the kids.”