The world was gripped last week by the inspiring, unlikely rescue of twelve boys and their football coach from a cave complex in Thailand.
The Wild Boar football team, aged 11-17, survived for an incredible 18 days after getting trapped underground.
Tragically, one Thai navy diver died while transporting oxygen tanks to the boys but thanks to the hard work of the Thai authorities – along with help from international cave diving experts – the lads were eventually reunited with their families.
And one figure who tried to muscle in on the rescue efforts was Tesla billionaire Elon Musk.
The SpaceX CEO, 47, turned up at the cave with his new invention: a mini, kid-sized submarine.
Unfortunately, however, the scheme turned out to be pretty useless and authorities told the inventor, who has a net worth of around $20 billion, that he wasn’t actually helping.
“Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.
While it’s hard to knock him for trying his best, one person who wasn’t impressed at all was British diver Vern Unsworth.
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth told broadcaster CNN in an interview.
“It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine was about five foot six (inches) long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone ‘round corners or ‘round any obstacles. It wouldn’t have made the first fifty metres into the cave… just a PR stunt.”
And now, Musk has hit back in this epic war of words by baselessly blasting Unsworth as a “pedo”.
“Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk said in a since-deleted tweet.
Unsworth, understandably shocked by the allegations made against him by Musk to his 22 million Twitter followers, has reportedly not ruled out legal action.
This latest ugly spat comes at a difficult time for Musk, who has faced reports that he is a major donor to the Republican Party in the US and allegations of unsafe working conditions at his Tesla factories.
More broadly, it’s interesting - and somewhat disturbing - how much we’ve come to celebrate and rely on billionaires to solve all of society’s ills.
Writer and social activist Naomi Klein has even argued that this unhealthy reliance on ‘benevolent billionaires,’ like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Musk, is in part responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.
All in all, it’s not a great time to be a billionaire. Apart from all the billions, that is.
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(Images: Getty / Twitter)