A British diver who assisted in the rescue of 12 boys from a Thai cave is reportedly considering legal action against Elon Musk after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO called him a “pedo.”
In a tweet on Sunday, Musk called Vernon Unsworth, a diver who helped rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, a “pedo guy” after criticism of his discarded submarine rescue plan. Musk reportedly followed that up with a tweet that said “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”
Both tweets have since been deleted.
The billionaire chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla Motors was apparently responding to criticism from Vernon Unsworth, who accused Musk of creating a miniature submarine to rescue the boys as a “PR stunt” during an interview with CNN. The British diver went on to say Musk “can stick his submarine where it hurts.”
On Monday, Unsworth told AFP that he would take legal action against Musk if “it’s what I think it is yes.” He added that he had not reviewed the tweets, only heard about them.
Unsworth played an instrumental role in the rescue of the 13 earlier this week after rising flood waters trapped the team for nearly three weeks in the Tham Luang Nang Non caves in northern Thailand. Before the rescue mission began, Musk tweeted that he had designed an “escape pod” built from “the liquid oxygen transfer tube” of a SpaceX Falcon rocket that could be used as a submarine to extract the children.
But Thai authorities called the device “not practical” and opted against using it.
“It just had absolutely no chance of working,” Unsworth said. “He had no conception of what the cave passage was like.”
In another tweet, Musk says he “never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand” and challenged the suggestion he was asked to leave the cave because his assistance wasn’t necessary.
In a separate Twitter thread over the weekend, Musk defended his nearly $40,000 donation to PAC Protect The House, a political action committee that aims to preserve Republican control of the House of Representatives. In a tweet Saturday, Musk called his political leanings moderate and touted his support for environmental and humanitarian causes.
Representatives for Musk didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
First published July 15, 9:56 a.m. PT.Update, July 16 at 8:40 a.m. PT: Adds that British diver Vernon Unsworth is considering legal action.
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