A BRITISH diver who played a key role in the Thai cave rescue is planning legal action against Elon Musk after the tech billionaire branded him a “pedo guy”.
Vern Unsworth said he was “astonished and very angry” at the Tesla co-founder’s comments on Twitter which have now been deleted.
Mr Musk posted the baseless allegations after 63-year-old Mr Unsworth dismissed his offer of donating a mini-submarine to the rescue effort as a “PR stunt”.
The businessman flew out to Thailand and left his submarine at the entrance to the cave network where the 12 boys and their coach were trapped.
Thai officials thanked him for his offer but the rescuers largely ignored the vehicle, saying that it was not practical.
Mr Unsworth said: “It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like.
“The submarine I believe was about 5ft 6in long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles.
“It wouldn’t have made the first 50 metres into the cave from the dive start point.
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts.”
In response Mr Musk, 47, posted a series of tweets and referred to the British caver as “pedo guy”, apparently on the basis that he is a westerner living in Asia.
He wrote: “Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus) at any point when we were in the caves.” The term “Sus” is short for suspicious.
Mr Musk added: “Only people in sight were the Thai navy/army guys, who were great.
“Thai navy Seals escorted us in: total opposite of wanting us to leave.”
When another Twitter user called him out over the attack on Mr Unsworth, Mr Musk replied: “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”
Mr Unsworth said that he considered that the comments were an attack on all members of the rescue crew who have been hailed as heroes around the world.
He said: “I believe he’s called me a paedophile.
“I think people realise what sort of guy Mr Musk is.”
Asked if he would consider legal action, he said: “Yes, it’s not finished.”
Mr Unsworth lives in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, about 40 miles from the Tham Luang caves where the boys became trapped.
The experienced explorer is familiar with the cave network and predicted where the boys would have taken shelter.
He also helped Thai authorities get in touch with British experts who took part in the rescue.