An Israeli tech company played an important role in the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach trapped in a cave complex, it has emerged.
The 11 to 16-year-olds were trapped in a cave for almost three weeks due to monsoon flooding, but were all successfully rescued following a huge international effort. Thirteen foreign divers joined five Thai Navy divers for the initial rescue attempt on Sunday. The team included two British divers, Richard “Rick” Stanton and John Volanthen, who originally found the boys last Monday, and Israeli diver Rafael Aroush, who lives in Thailand and volunteered to help.
Israeli firm Maxtech Networks provided a communications system – a radio that could work perfectly inside the cave complex. A network of radios were connected together to work around the natural obstacles of the caves and allowed the rescue teams and the trapped football team to communicate with each other and the outside world.
The company’s CEO Uzi Hanuni said that Thai authorities requested assistance from the company’s employee in Thailand. He said: “There’s a guy by the name of Assaf who lives in Thailand and he markets our systems. 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.”
Israeli media reported that another Maxtech employee, Yuval Zalmanov, flew to Thailand, to oversee the use of the equipment and its distribution.
In total, 110 Thai Navy SEALs were deployed to the scene, including off-duty and former members of the elite squad, one of whom died during the rescue efforts. Seventeen Australian police divers, 36 US military Pacific Command personnel, and six rescue specialists from Beijing also joined the ultimately successful rescue.
Before the first mission last Sunday, the Thai Navy SEALs posted a heartwarming picture of three hands clasped together in a show of unity on its Facebook page. The message alongside it read: “We, the Thai Navy SEALS along with the international diver team, are ready to bring the soccer team home!”