Elon Musk makes unfounded accusation against Thai cave rescuer

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Musk, without providing any justification or explanation, referred to Unsworth as "pedo guy" in a since-deleted tweet on Sunday.

In an interview with CNN, Unsworth said the escape pod had absolutely no chance of working and called Musk's efforts a "PR stunt".

Musk, famous for founding Tesla and SpaceX, had originally involved himself in the rescue operation by building a mini-submarine he had hoped would save the children.

Musk posted the baseless accusation shortly after. Musk and his engineers built a miniature submarine in hopes that it could be used to ferry the kids to safety, but the idea was rejected by the rescue team as the submarine was unlikely to be able to navigate the cramped caves. Only people in sight were the Thai navy/army guys, who were great. "They had no conception of what the cave passage was like.It wouldn't have made the first 50 metres into the cave from the dive start point", Vern Unsworth told The Telegraph.

"I believe he's called me a pedophile", he said.

As Abby Ohlheiser has already chronicled for the Washington Post, Musk accepted the challenge with "a lengthy, live brainstorming process on Twitter", which ended when he traveled to Thailand with a miniature submarine made from rocket parts, tweeted some photos of the cave, left the device there and went home. When asked about whether he'd sue, he said "If it's what I think it is yes".

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"It's not finished", he told Australian network Channel 7.

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

Musk also faced criticism over the weekend due to his newly disclosed political donations, which totaled $38,900, to a political action committee called "Protect the House," a group dedicated to maintaining conservative control of the US House of Representatives.

The tweet, later deleted, sent investors away from Tesla stock and could expose the temperamental rocket scientist to a libel suit.

He later doubled down on his comments, insisting to one critic that he'd bet "a signed dollar it was true", before deleting all the tweets about Unsworth. He said Musk, whom he had never met, must have a "bruised ego".

At time of publication, Tesla traded down 3.7 percent at a rate of $307.02.