The Thai cave rescue mission aimed at freeing a team of 12 young boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave on June 23 was successfully completed on Tuesday, while a man from the other side of the globe has made headlines, though having hardly contributed at all.
It took Elon Musk more than 10 days to go all Tony Stark when he responded to an assistance request from a Twitter user. "I suspect that the Thai govt has this under control, but I'm happy to help if there is a way to do so," Elon Musk tweeted on July 4.
I suspect that the Thai govt has this under control, but I’m happy to help if there is a way to do so— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 4 июля 2018 г.
It took him another two days to announce that he would send his team to Thailand the following day to see if he could help the government.
Even before the rescue operation kicked off, Musk's ambitious plans to build a kid-size submarine for the trapped footballers started splashing across the media.
The Tesla boss hit the headlines on July 7 when The New York Times published an article titled: "Elon Musk Thinks a Minisubmarine Could Help in Thai Cave Rescue."
"Elon Musk Is Testing a Tiny Submarine to Help the Boys Trapped in a Thai Cave," TIME said on Saturday.
On July 8, Vanity Fair's headline read, "Elon Musk Built a Submarine to Help Rescue the Thai Soccer Team."
"Elon Musk posted videos of the 'kid-size submarine' he's sending to help save the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand," Business Insider said the same day.
CNN joined the choir on July 9: "Elon Musk shares video of 'kid-size' submarine for Thai cave rescue."
The SpaceX founder visited the site of the rescue operation to drop off his purpose-built submarine he had hoped might come in handy during the rescue operation.
"Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful," he tweeted and posted a video on Instagram showing the cave complex from the inside.
Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/EHNh8ydaTT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 9 июля 2018 г.
However, the head of the rescue mission, which has apparently retrieved all the boys and their team coach with the help of divers, dismissed Elon Musk's plans. He thanked the billionaire, but described his miniature device, which the divers didn't use, as "impractical" for the rescue mission.
As the five were still waiting for rescue two weeks after they got trapped, Musk posted photos and a video from inside the cave complex on Twitter and Instagram, putting his trip to Thailand in the media spotlight.
Business Insider returned to the Elon Musk topic on Tuesday: "Elon Musk is posting photos and videos of the Thai cave rescue operation — and SpaceX confirmed he's there."
The Daily Mail has apparently checked out Musk's Instagram, too: "Video: Footage from inside Thai cave shows final rescue effort underway."
"Elon Musk Posts Video and Photo from Thai Cave Rescue. The man works quick," said Inverse magazine.
Such increased media interest had internet users embroiled in a heated discussion, with some claiming that there's nothing Musk should take credit for — except his excellent PR and marketing skills.
This is 100% a publicity stunt. Not even worth blocking you for— Rob Forth (@robinivski) 9 июля 2018 г.
About as much as Musk minus the media coverage.— 📣Nul aux pronos📣 (@dadounet91) 10 июля 2018 г.
I don't know whether you wanted some free PR, or actually had good intentions, but either way, I'm going to park 70 monster trucks around your home and claim I have helped you.— Ryan Brown 🎮 (@Toadsanime) 10 июля 2018 г.
I don’t usually see the point in tweeting about him, but the audacity of Musk to build his useless “submarine”, bring it over after the rescue was already underway, and then LEAVE IT THERE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TAKE CARE OF while calling Thailand beautiful like he’s on holiday— ein m. ✈️ 28 DAYS (@knuckleb0ne) 10 июля 2018 г.
Elon Musk leaving Thailand. pic.twitter.com/rkxLthzqVi— Janot Botequeiro (@opinioso) 10 июля 2018 г.
The real heroes are the cave divers, doctors, Thai Navy Seals, and the people in Thailand who came forward to assist the operation, providing food and shelter. Not Elon Musk. News media should highlight the real heroes not some attention seeking guy like Elon. #ThaiCaveResue— Vishnu Narayanan (@NarayananVI) 10 июля 2018 г.