The mother of a British man who played a vital role in the Thai cave rescue said Elon Musk should have “his mouth taped up” for making an unsubstantiated claim that her son was a “pedo guy”.
Vera Unsworth, 88, said that if her son Vernon had “any sense”, he would sue the tech billionaire over his “disgusting” comments.
Musk launched the Twitter attack on Mr Unsworth after the experienced diver branded his offer of a mini-submarine for the rescue a “PR stunt”. Musk has since apologised.
Mrs Unsworth, from Braintree, Essex, hit out at Musk, saying: “He wants his mouth taped up. I don’t know if Vernon will seek legal recourse, if he has any sense he will. It’s disgusting coming from a millionaire as well. He probably thinks money doesn’t hurt him and he can get away with anything.”
Mr Unsworth, 63, a financial adviser and cave-diving expert, had extensive knowledge of the Tham Luang caves that proved instrumental in the rescue of the 12-strong Wild Boars football team and their coach last week.
During the mission Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX tycoon, offered to help and flew to Thailand with a mini submarine which he claimed could be used to carry the boys to safety.
Mr Unsworth, who is from St Albans, Hertfordshire, but now lives in Thailand, said of Musk’s offer: “It was a PR stunt. It had no chance of working.”
He also said Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” prompting Musk’s outburst.
Mr Unsworth has said he is considering legal action against Musk.
Apologising, Musk said: “My words were spoken in anger after Mr Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader. Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.”
Mr Unsworth returned to the UK yesterday and is set to visit his mother in the next few days.
The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach, 25, were released from hospital this week after recovering from their two-week ordeal. They appeared in front of the international media on Wednesday and described their rescue as a “miracle”.
The boys described feeling weak from hunger and drinking water dripping from the cave walls to stay alive.
A video shown at the start of the conference showed the group weeping as they thanked medical staff who nursed them back to health and treated them to their favourite meals to help the gain weight, including a KFC.