One of the rescuers of a youth soccer team that was trapped in a Thai cave is reportedly considering legal action against Elon Musk after the Tesla CEO called him a “pedo” on Twitter.
Vern Unsworth, a British cave explorer, said Monday he was "astonished and very angry" at the billionaire's accusation.
Musk, who built a mini-submarine to aid the rescue mission, was apparently responding after Unsworth called the device “a PR stunt.”
In a CNN interview Sunday, Unsworth said Musk’s mini-sub had “absolutely no chance of working” and that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
Musk responded in a series of now-deleted tweets: “Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus) at any point when we were in the caves. Only people in sight were the Thai navy/army guys, who were great.
“Water level was actually very low … you could literally have swum to Cave 5 with no gear, which is obv how the kids got in. If not true, then I challenge this dude to show final rescue video.”
He then added: “You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”
Many users urged Musk to withdraw the comment, but he doubled down — writing “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true” — before deleting.
Unsworth, 63, told reporters at the cave site, where a cleanup operation is under way, that the remarks were an attack on the entire rescue crew. Asked if he would consider legal action against Musk, he told The Guardian: “Yes, it’s not finished.”
Musk and his team of engineers at SpaceX and The Boring Co. designed the mini-submarine to help rescue the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach who became trapped in the cave June 23 when a flash flood blocked the entrance. They were finally brought to safety on Tuesday. A Thai Navy SEAL died during the operation.
Musk's device was fashioned out of a tube for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. He said the other cave divers and rescuers were “unsung heroes."
The boys and their coach were still recovering under quarantine in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand, Monday, where all were improving quickly, the country’s top public health official said.
In May, Musk faced criticism for dismissing questions from analysts and reporters on a conference call as “bonehead” and “boring”and even proposed a Yelp-style ratings system for journalists.