Twelve young footballers and their 25-year-old coach became trapped in a flooded cave system in Thailand on June 23, 2018.
Divers and other rescue worker worked frantically to come up with a plan to free the youngsters imprisoned in the Tham Luang Nang Non caves.
On July 6, almost two weeks later, billionaire Elon Musk shared suggestions for those working on the ground after receiving tweets requesting his input.
Elon Musk said his Boring Co, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems, could feed a nylon tube into the submerged sections of the cave before inflating it ‘like a bouncy castle’ to create an underwater tunnel.
Musk also committed to sending top engineers from his Boring Co. and SpaceX companies to help free the trapped schoolchildren.
According to the Tesla CEO, rescuers could use electric pumps to remove water from flooded entrance of the cave network – eliminating one of the bodies of water those trapped would need to cross.
Nylon tubes measuring some 3ft (1m) in diameter could then be fed through the cave network to the flooded sections.
Battery packs and air pumps would be used to inflate the nylon tubes, submerged underwater. These tubes would provide an escape tunnel the children could crawl through to safety, Musk suggests.
However, Professor John Gunn from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham and chair of the cave research association, had reservations about details of the scheme.
He said: ‘If you imagine a tunnel under London flooded, this this would be straight with a few bends.
‘However, this is more like asking to thread a pipe through all the aisles of a supermarket, up the stairs, down the stairs and then back through the aisles and also in total darkness and underwater.
‘You can see it is more complicated. If he was proposing the pipe is moved by divers then I think that’s a non-starter.’