Top Thai diver admits he thought up to five boys would die, as Elon Musk goes on bizarre Twitter rampage

The rescuers involved in the mission to bring 12 boys and their football coach safely out of a cave in Thailand have revealed exactly how risky and difficult the operation was.

US Mission Commander Major Charles Hodges admitted he told the Thai Governor he thought there was only a "60 or 70 per cent chance" of successfully bringing the boys out alive.

He said he thought "maybe three, four, possibly five would die."

The sentiment was shared by British cave diver Jason Mallinson, who told ABC's Four Corners programme, "I was confident of getting the kid out. I wasn't 100 per cent confident of getting him out alive. Because, if we bashed him against the rock too hard and it dislodged the mask, and flooded his mask, he was a gonner."

When all 13 of those trapped were rescued, Australian cave diver Craig Challen said "words cannot describe how happy we were. Honestly was not the result that we thought we would get."

Elon Musk lashed out at Thai football team rescue diver Vern Unsworth on Twitter.
Elon Musk lashed out at Thai football team rescue diver Vern Unsworth on Twitter. Source: 1 NEWS

Jason Mallinson said, "I've never done anything as risky as that and I don't think I ever will again, but it was the only option we had and we took it."

But it's a spat between another one of the rescuers and Space-X entrepreneur Elon Musk which is dominating headlines after Musk called British rescue diver Vern Unsworth "a pedo" in a tweet.

Musk's tweet was in response to Mr Unsworth calling Musk’s idea of a one-person submarine to bring the boys to safety "a PR stunt", saying it "had absolutely no chance of working" and "he can stick his submarine where it hurts".

Musk has since deleted the offending tweet, but has continued to defend his submarine.

The entrepreneur brought the invention to the Thai cave, but his help was declined and he was asked to leave.

Mr Unsworth said Musk "had no conception of what the cave passage was like".

"The submarine, I believe, was about 5' 6'' long, rigid, so it wouldn't have gone round the corners or round any obstacles. It wouldn't have made the first 50 metres into the cave."

The 12 rescued boys and their 25-year-old coach are still recovering and gaining strength in hospital.

They are due to be discharged on Thursday.

The Space-X founder has called a British diver a “pedo”, allegations that are without basis. Source: 1 NEWS