It’s every parents’ worst nightmare – their children stuck underground as rescuers work around-the-clock to save them.
For some 12 boys and their soccer coach – who have been trapped for nearly two weeks in a flooded Thai cave – Israeli technology may be part of the answer.
Some of the emergency mobile communications tools used by the first responders have reportedly been donated by Israeli company Maxtech NetWorks.
CEO Uzi Hanuni said that Thai authorities had requested assistance from the company’s employee in Thailand.
“There’s a guy by the name of Assaf who lives in Thailand and he markets our systems,” Hanuni told Israel Hayom. “They approached him and said they want them. The systems facilitate communication in areas without reception. We gave them our devices and they took them into the cave. This is our Israeli contribution. We did it voluntarily.”
Military personnel walk in line as they prepare to enter the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 6, 2018 (REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)
Donating the communication systems – which function like handheld radios – costs upwards of $100,000. But the resulting publicity from helping save the Thai children could easily compensate the firm many times over.
The lack of reliable communication tools hampered earlier rescue attempts. Maxtech doesn’t require a cell phone tower – and it’s being used as a lifeline for the boys to get data and video-chat with loved ones.
Because of the distance and depth – MaxTech’s devices communicate wirelessly between one another – one link at a time. It’s akin to beacons being lit one hilltop after another, gradually sending a message in a type of relay league.
A group of British divers, alongside Thai naval special forces, were the ones to first find the boys – nine days after they were reported missing.
Rescuers are racing against the weather, as monsoon season threatens to raise water levels – flooding the section of the cave where the boys are stranded. Officials are pumping out water around-the-clock.
The boys would have to be guided around murky passageways in deep water – and many of them do not know how to swim or dive. They are around 4 km. from the mouth of the cave.
It is unclear when it will be safe for them to dive out, as Thailand’s rainy season lasts through October and the boys lack specialized training.
The children are mostly in stable condition – although some worry for their physical and mental health if their predicament continues indefinitely. They are being supplied with high-protein liquid food, along with painkillers and antibiotics.
The group of mostly teenagers were playing soccer when they took first refuge in the cave from a torrential downpour.
Another Maxtech employee, Yuval Zalmanov, was reported in Hebrew media to have hopped on a flight to Thailand, equipped with emergency Maxtech devices.