Elon Musk spat puts dampener on caver's Thai rescue role

18 July, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Credit PA

Shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla plunged on Monday as investors in the company were not too impressed after CEO Elon Musk called a British caver involved in the rescue of 12 Thai children last week a "pedo". Three days after the rescue operation was complete, CNN posted an interview with a British spelunker who had helped locate the boys, Vernon Unsworth, who called Musk's submarine a "PR stunt".

Musk was responding to an interview with the diver, who said that the child-sized submarine that Musk developed to help in the rescue efforts had no chance of working.

But Musk took the brawl one step further, ranting to his 22 million Twitter followers on Sunday that Unsworth was a pedophile who "really did ask for it".

When asked by reporters at the cave site about whether he would consider taking legal action against Musk, Unsworth said, "Yes, it's not finished".

Credit Twitter
Credit Twitter

"... I challenge this dude to show final rescue video", Musk said, referring to Unsworth.

In addition to threats from the diver to sue Musk for his remark, the event also saw Tesla's shares drop by 3.5% on Monday morning.

Unsworth said he brought his knowledge about the cave to the rescue mission but added that he had "no idea" what the diving conditions were like because he is not a cave diver.

Mr Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, who has always been bullish on Tesla, said the latest dust-ups involving Mr Musk only show "he is human", and do not detract from his quality as a great innovator.

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Tesla shares are down 3.7% this year.

Musk must have realized the error of his way immediately after because he deleted the tweets, but its effects still ripple.

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

Musk responded by saying Osatanakorn was "not the subject matter expert" and that he had been "inaccurately described as rescue chief" and should have been labeled the "former Thai provincial governor".

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"Bet ya a signed dollar it's true", Musk wrote, a few hours before he deleted his tweets - too late to avoid yet another deluge of public criticism.

"I have a lot of support from people around the world astonished by his unfounded comments", he said.

Mr Unsworth told the AFP news agency that he would make a decision on whether he takes legal action against Mr Musk after flying back to the United Kingdom this week. Unsworth told AFP news that he will make a decision about whether to take legal action against Musk after flying back to the United Kingdom this week. The following week, he hung up on the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board who called to tell him the agency was booting Tesla representatives from the investigation of a fatal crash involving a Model X driver.

Unsworth's wife said Monday that her husband was returning to Britain on July 19, where he will speak to lawyers, Reuters reports.

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"I do not actually see the checks (changed that policy today)", Musk said in one.

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