BRIT Thai Cave hero Vern Unsworth defied Elon Musk’s "paedophile" jibes to reunite with boys he helped rescue from certain death.

The diver played a leading role in the Thai cave rescue operation in which he helped save trapped schoolboys from Tham Luang cave in July.

Six months later, Vern visited the cave alongside the boys, and coach Ekkapol Chantawong and praised the "close-knit" group for their strength and recovery.

Speaking to the BBC, Vern said: "For me it's still quite emotional. Some people think that to get 13 out of 13 out was a bit of a miracle.

"I think the world outside was expecting a bad result. But we never gave up. What the divers did was just an incredible feat of endurance."

"No-one should blame the boys or their coach for going in, he said. They were just very unlucky. It could have been me."

It comes after Elon Musk filed a motion to dismiss the defamation allegation brought by Vern after the Tesla CEO launched an attack on July 15 in which he called Mr Unsworth a paedophile.

The billionaire CEO's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit hinges on the arguments that Unsworth attacked Musk first and that the "over-the-top insults" were opinion and not facts.

The extraordinary Twitter slur came after Mr Unsworth blasted Musk's offer to help with the rescue as a "PR stunt".

When Mr Musk offered his help, he posted videos online demonstrating how "a tiny, kid-size submarine" could be used to save those stranded.

But Mr Unsworth accused Musk of trying to hijack the tragedy and said the businessman could "stick his submarine where it hurts".

In screenshots of a now-deleted tweet from Mr Musk's verified account, Musk said: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it."

But, on July 17, Mr Musk tweeted an apology to Mr Unsworth and "the companies he represents".

But he took to Twitter again on August 28, this time to question why diver Vern hadn't sued him in wake of the remarks.

Yet on September 17, Mr Unsworth filed court papers in Los Angeles suing Musk for libel, and looking for damages worth £57,000.

Unsworth’s defamation suit says the 'paedophile' allegation was made “out of whole cloth” simply because Musk disagreed with the PR assessment.

It says: “Despite his total lack of information supporting his false and defamatory accusations, Musk overtly conveyed to the world that he was in possession of undisclosed false and defamatory facts proving Mr Unsworth to be guilty of the accusations.”

Unsworth's girlfriend of seven years Woranan Ratrawiphukkun, 40, also slammed Musk's claims that her partner had visited Pattaya or any other Thai area known for sex tourism.

The local politician and businesswoman - known as Tik - told the Thai news website Coconuts: "The news about him being married to a 12-year-old child is laughable."

Tik, who shares a rural home with Unsworth near Chiang Rai, added: "Vern is a kind person. He rarely has an argument with anyone, and everybody loves Vern.

"We've spent our life together for seven years - he's a good man and such a gentleman. He thinks of others before himself. I cannot comment further. I don't have anything to say to him [Musk].

Despite this, Musk doubled down on his vile claims against the hero diver weeks later, accusing him of being a "child rapist" in an explosive email to a reporter.

Musk's company Tesla have endured a bumpy ride lately, largely attributed to the words and actions of its chief executive, with its share price dropping by 11 percent since the start of the year.

Musk was forced to resign as Tesla chairman and pay a 15million fine in September 2018 after settling a deal with US regulators over tweets about taking the company private.

He will remain as Tesla CEO but will have to step down as chairman for three years.