Elon Musk sent engineers to Thailand before visiting the cave site himself and building a small, child-sized submarine to help with the rescue mission to save the 13 members of the Wild Boar soccer team that were trapped for more than two weeks.
Elon Musk has hit back at those who have criticized his attempts to help recuse the 13 members of a Thai soccer team that were trapped in a cave for more than two weeks.
He said on Twitter on Wednesday that the reaction has "shaken my opinion of many people."
"We were asked to create a backup option & worked hard to do so. Checked with dive team many times to confirm it was worthwhile. Now it’s there for anyone who needs it in future. Something’s messed up if this is not a good thing."
He was replying to another Twitter user, who wrote: "The hatred being spewed about @elonmusk is ridiculous. Any engineer always needs a backup plan. He tried to help in the best way he knew how, and I commend him mightily for it."
Musk's submarine was deemed "not practical" for the mission by Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command center who has been coordinating the operation. But Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said he was "highly appreciative" of Musk's efforts.
But Musk has revealed how he was encouraged to keep working on the submarine by the dive team. In response to a BBC report about Osatanakorn's comments, Musk shared email correspondence between himself and British diver Richard Stanton on Twitter. Stanton told Musk to keep working on the submarine, and that it "may well be used" as part of the rescue mission.
"SpaceX engineering is absolutely certain that mini-sub can do entire journey & demonstrate at any time," Musk added.
Some Twitter users have joked about Musk's contribution, implying that he didn't do anything to help with the rescue.
But others have defended his efforts and use of personal time and company resources to help with the mission.
Business Insider's Lianna Garfield pointed out that Musk's contribution to the rescue worked as a huge PR boost to his companies: "Most of the world will not remember the names of the Thai SEALs who risked their lives on the ground to save the soccer team. But they will remember Musk."
On Sunday, Musk hit back at a Twitter user that accused him of using the crisis as PR stunt. "Gosh, feel like you need to leverage every public situation for your own aggrandizement much? You do know there are hundreds of experts already working this across multiple counties, no? #narcissim," they wrote.
"If I am a narcissist (which might be true), at least I am a useful one," Musk replied.