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Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Thailand cave rescuer considers legal action against Elon Musk for 'pedo' comment

Thailand cave rescuer considers legal action against Elon Musk for 'pedo' comment

A British caver who helped rescue 12 boys from a Thai cave said Monday he may take legal action against Elon Musk after the entrepreneur called him a "pedo".

Musk personally visited Thailand to deliver the sub, but numerous boys had already been rescued by the time he arrived, and Unsworth, who lives in Thailand and has spent years exploring the Tham Luang cave system where the boys were trapped, called Musk's actions a "PR stunt" and said the sub had "absolutely no chance of working".

Unsworth told the Guardian on Monday he was "astonished and very angry" at the online abuse he had received from a very rich tech billionaire.

In a now-deleted tweet responding to Zeynep Tufekci, a New York Times writer who wrote an opinion column lightly criticizing Musk's well-publicized offers to help, Elon Musk wrote, "You know what, don't bother showing the video".

Challen said the divers had been uncertain if they would be able to save all 12 boys and their coach in the "life and death" rescue mission.

Vernon Unsworth, a caver based in Thailand, provided knowledge of the Tham Luang cave system, which helped in the rescue.

Challenged on the social media site to provide evidence to support his accusation, Musk tweeted: "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true". "I think people realise what sort of guy [Musk] is".

When faced with criticism, CEO Elon Musk has shown a tendency to lash out with defensive statements or claims about his critics, but none have quite reached the levels as this one.

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British rescuer considers legal action against Elon Musk over ‘pedo’ tweet

Earlier this month, Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek that he would engage with his detractors on Twitter less often. "He had no conception of what the cave passage was like". "The submarine, I believe, was about 5ft 6in long, rigid, so it wouldn't have gone round corners or round any obstacles".

Tesla spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk has 22.3 million followers on Twitter.

The craft was never used and the tweets have since been deleted.

Last week, as the rescue effort was under way, Mr Musk hit out at the Thai official in charge of the mission's command centre, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, after he said the mini-sub was "not practical with our mission", though it was "technologically sophisticated". "Just a PR stunt".

Asked if he would consider taking legal action, he told reporters: "Yes, it's not finished".

In a separate Twitter thread over the weekend, Musk defended his almost $40,000 donation to PAC Protect The House, a political action committee that aims to preserve Republican control of the House of Representatives.

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