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Elon Musk's team completes pod for Thailand cave rescue

by Justin King

Most of the trapped students have already been extricated, but a few remain in the flooded cave system.

A team led by Elon Musk has finished building an experimental pod that could be used to rescue the remaining members of a boys soccer team trapped in a flooded Thailand cave.

Engineers and other workers from SpaceX and Boring Co listened to feedback from diving experts to build a pressurized "mini sub" from a liquid oxygen transfer tube of a Falcon rocket. It is small enough to fit through tight cave passageways but large enough to fit the students.

The team manufactured several variants including a second pod that is 30 cm shorter and an inflatable replica that can be used to verify fit through the trickiest sections without blocking the passageway if it becomes stuck.

"According to divers who have made the journey, this is capable of maneuvering through all passages," Musk wrote on Twitter.

The group of 12 boys and their coach went missing last month when they hiked miles into the cave and could not retrace their steps to the exit due to rising water levels. So far, divers have used traditional techniques to rescue eight of the boys.

"Mini-sub arriving in about 17 hours. Hopefully useful," Musk said yesterday. "If not, perhaps it will be in a future situation."

Simulating maneuvering through a narrow passage pic.twitter.com/2z01Ut3vxJ

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018