Vern Unsworth, a British cave explorer who helped rescuers save 12 children and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand last week, may sue Elon Musk after the tech billionaire appeared to accuse him of being a pedophile.
At time of publication, Tesla traded down 3.7 percent at a rate of $307.02.
"I believe he's called me a pedophile", he said. The soccer team was rescued successfully after 18 days, with the help of dozens of divers and hundreds of volunteers. At the end of the day we were here to rescue 12 young boys. That report came after some criticism of the plan from people who argued that the relatively large submarine would not be able to fit around the tight cave network the boys had to navigate. In addition to the submarine, Musk said that technicians could pump water through the cave and provide Tesla-made battery packs to provide electricity to boost the pump rate. "It just had absolutely no chance of working".
It was an eventful weekend for Tesla CEO Elon Musk - and the action rolled in to Monday when markets opened, with Tesla shares falling more than 3% in trading.
The Tesla chief launched a tirade against Mr Vernon Unsworth after he slammed the businessman's offer of a miniature submarine to extract the footballers as a "PR (public relations) stunt".
The cave expert, who provided mapping knowledge to rescuers, said yesterday that he was considering whether to take legal action against Mr Musk.
"This thing is unraveling", Gordon Johnson, managing director of research firm Vertical Group, told the Washington Post on Monday, referring to Tesla and Musk's short temper. The original tweet and a second one doubling down on the message were later deleted.
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Musk's comments were a response to an Business Insider interview with Unsworth on Sunday.
"I'll take advice when I get back to London", he told 9 News during a celebratory ceremony outside the evacuated gave.
In another tweet, Musk says he "never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand" and challenged the suggestion he was asked to leave the cave because his assistance wasn't necessary.
Gene Munster, an analyst with Loup Ventures, said the comments raised questions about Musk's distractability and "maturity".
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"He had no conception of what the cave passage was like", Unsworth said in the interview.
Tweeters asked how Musk could justify contributions to "protect" a House of Representatives and a political party filled with climate-change deniers.
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Unless the two sides restart negotiations, "the conflict will escalate further, with major economic implications for themselves and the global economy", said Kuijs.