Elon Musk took to Twitter Tuesday night to apologize to the British cave diver he called a “pedo guy” after the man had criticized his idea for using a submarine to rescue a group of boys and their coach from a Thai cave.
The Tesla CEO’s apology came in response to a user who had posted an article about the “submarine fiasco” that appeared on Quora.com.
The exchange between Musk and the diver began after the tech magnate proposed a “kid-sized submarine” to help the boys escape the cave where they were trapped for weeks.
Rescuers overseeing the mission took a pass on the sub, as it wasn’t considered practical for the operation.
WATCH: Elon Musk posts footage from inside Thai cave
“Even though their equipment is technologically sophisticated, it doesn’t fit with our mission to go in the cave,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, who oversaw the joint command centre that was in charge of the rescue.
Musk responded by questioning rescuers’ expertise, saying Osatanakorn was “not the subject matter expert.”
Vern Unsworth, a British diver who was involved in the Thai rescue mission, later told CNN that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
He accused Musk of devising the mini-submarine as a “PR stunt” and said it had “no chance of working” because the tech CEO had no special knowledge of the cave passage itself.
Unsworth went on to explain that the sub was 5’6″ long and rigid, and that it wouldn’t have made it around any corners.
“It wouldn’t have made the first 50 metres from the dive start point,” he said.
Musk subsequently went on a Twitter tirade against Unsworth, retorting against his claim that it wouldn’t have made it that far into the cave and urging him to show a video of the rescue operation.
“Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk said without evidence of the claim, before he deleted the tweets.
Unsworth later indicated to Australia’s 9News he would consider legal action against Musk, possibly meeting with lawyers when he returned to the U.K. on July 19.
Tesla shares also fell 3.5 per cent amid the war of words.
In his apology, Musk said his words were “spoken in anger” after Unsworth promoted what he called “several untruths and suggested I engaged in a sex act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness.”
He added that Unsworth’s comments about him didn’t justify his actions, and he apologized to him.
- With files from Rahul Kalvapalle, Jessica Vomiero, Reuters
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