The British diver Vernon Unsworth, who played a key role in the rescue of 12 children and their football team coach trapped in a northern Thailand cave, is “very angry” after Elon Musk called him a “pedo” on Twitter.

American business magnate launched the attack after Unsworth said the child-sized submarine, which the Tesla chief executive delivered at the site to help the stranded kids last week, had absolutely no chance of working.

Unsworth is also considering legal action against Musk. He further said, “He (Musk) 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 round corners or round any obstacles.”

Replying to the Brit’s comment on Sunday, Musk said “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” and promised to release a video showing that the submarine would have been able reach the children.

However, Musk deleted the tweet later in the day.

According to The Guardian, Unsworth told journalists at the cave site that the derogatory tweet was not only an attack on him, but on the entire rescue crew.

“I believe he’s called me a paedophile,” he said. “I think people realise what sort of guy [Musk] is,” Unsworth said. 

On 23 June, 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach enter the Tham Luang Nang Non-cave network in northern Thailand, but got stuck there after rain flooded the entrance.

Since then, the rescue mission made headlines as hundreds of experts flew in from around the world to assist in the operation.

On 10 July, the Thai Navy SEAL took to Facebook to confirm that all the 13 “Wild Boar” football team members were successfully rescued.