A British cave diver — who was critical in the rescue of the Wild Boar football team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand — says he he is considering taking legal action against Tesla chief executive Elon Musk called him a “pedo over twitter”, the Guardian reports.
According to the newspaper, Musk attacked Vern Unsworth (63) on twitter following the diver’s criticism of Musk.
Unsworth told AFP on Monday he had not reviewed Musk’s tweets in full and had only heard about them.
Asked if he would take legal action against Musk over the allegation, Unsworth said: “If it’s what I think it is, yes.”
The diver told AFP he would make a decision when he flies back to the UK this week, but said the episode with Musk “ain’t finished”.
Musk was told by one of his Twitter followers that the billionaire was “calling the guy who found the children a pedo”, but Musk doubled down on his attack of the diver, tweeting, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”
According to the Guardian, Musk faces a possible libel suit as his tweets went out to 22-million of Musk’s followers.
The drama began during the rescue operation of the Wild Boar football team — 12 boys and their coach — when Musk offered to assist in the rescue mission by providing a child-sized submarine.
Unsworth, who provided mapping knowledge of the cave to rescuers, said during an interview that Musk’s prototype would have had “absolutely no chance of working”, calling Musk’s offer a “PR stunt”.
“It just had absolutely no chance of working,” Unsworth said on Sunday.
“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 around corners or round any obstacles.”
Musk has already received criticism for his approach to the Thai rescue mission. His offer to provide a submarine was turned down by Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.
“Even though their equipment is technologically sophisticated, it doesn’t fit with our mission to go in the cave,” Osatanakorn told reporters.
Musk went on to criticise Osatanakorn, saying that the official “inaccurately described as rescue chief”. Musk also said that Osatanakorn was “not the subject matter expert”.
The attack against Unsworth, the Guardian reported, was presented without evidence or context, and there is no evidence to substantiate Musk’s claim of paedophilia.
Musk later deleted the tweet where he referred to Unsworth as a “pedo”.
Earlier in the week, Musk had pledged to be less combative on social media following his series of tweets against Osatanakorn.
Unsworth, who lives in Thailand for part of the year, was among the first divers on the scene after the football team became trapped in the cave on June 23.