Tesla founder Elon Musk has apologised to British caver Vern Unsworth for comments he made about him following the rescue of a dozen schoolboys and their football coach from a cave in northern Thailand.
"His actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologise to Mr Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader," Mr Musk said in a tweet. "The fault is mine and mine alone."
He was responding to a Twitter user who had shared an article about the dispute.
As this well-written article suggests, 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.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
Mr Unsworth, who played a leading role in the rescue, said yesterday that he had been approached by British and US lawyers and would seek legal advice after Mr Musk directed abuse at him on Twitter.
Mr Musk's spat with Mr Unsworth started last week, after rescue teams rejected the tech billionaire's offer of a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to help extract the boys and their coach from the labyrinth of partly flooded passages.
"It just has absolutely no chance of working," CNN quoted Mr Unsworth as saying about the submarine.
Mr Musk tweeted that the sub would work and made a sexual slur against Mr Unsworth in a tweet that was later deleted.
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.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/EHNh8ydaTT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
Mr Unsworth said he had not actually met Mr Musk face-to-face when he visited the cave during the rescue.
He said he felt sorry that the squabble with Mr Musk had detracted from the successful end to the mission.
"It's taken a bit of the pleasure out of what's happened, what we've achieved, for me anyway," he said, adding that it had upset his ex-wife and daughter back in Britain.
Mr Musk's tweet about Mr Unsworth, which was sent from his official account, caused Tesla's shares to fall on Monday, although they have since recovered the losses.