Elon Musk has a lot of resources at his disposal, and not just in terms of raw purchasing power. Through his various companies he’s amassed an impressive staff of very, very smart people, and now he’s hoping that he redirect a bit of that brain power to help save 13 lives.
Musk will be sending a team of engineers from two of his companies — SpaceX and The Boring Company — to Thailand in the hopes that they can help come up with a plan to save a team of 12 young soccer players and their coach, all of whom have been trapped in an underground cave system for well over a week.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the incredible saga of the boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, let me get you up to speed: The boys soccer team and their coach went on a bit of an adventure together, taking what was supposed to be a leisurely hike through a well-known cave system. However, after venturing deep within the caves, torrential rains flooded their route back home, and the waters are refusing to subside. The boys were discovered alive nine days after being declared missing, and rescuers are now racing against time to get them out.
Seasoned divers have been taking supplies into the cave to keep the group alive, but after over a week without food they’re weak and fatigued. Swimming to the area where the team is located can take several hours, and even with diving gear and chaperones it’s not likely that the young boys would be able to swim to safety.
Yesterday, the dangers of the swim were made even more apparent when a former Thailand Navy SEAL drowned while trying to find the exit of the flooded tunnels. Needless to say, asking a bunch of incredibly tired, weak kids to make the same trip is a no-go.
Musk, who has made a career out of doing things a bit differently, talked briefly on Twitter about possible solutions to getting the boys out, including creating an inflatable tube system that would allow them to find their way to the surface without having to actually swim there.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2018
As Musk himself notes, his back-of-the-envelope calculations might not fit the realities of the scenario, which is why his engineers are heading to the location in person. Whatever solution the Thailand government ends up going with, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the kids and their coach can make it back in one piece.