Family Reunited

In September 2009, a father and his 2 children went on a hike in the nice warm weather in the Eilat mountains. At some point they lost their way and tried getting back to where they came from. The children and father were wearing light clothing; short sleeves and short pants.

Eilat is in the desert and when the sun sets the temperature drops drastically. The father called for help as darkness fell but he couldn’t tell the Rescue Team his exact location. The main danger was that the two children, ages 4 and 5, would enter a state of hypothermia and that the team wouldn’t get there in time to save them. Normally, protocol is to instruct someone who’s lost to stay where they are until they are found, but in this situation, standing still in one place without moving around, along with the exposure to the cold would be more dangerous for the children. The team instructed the father to continue hiking up the mountain to keep their body temperatures up.

The Rescue Team called as many volunteers as possible and they entered the general area “blind” to look for them. They spread out in the general area with strong lights and megaphones. At that point, the father’s phone battery had died and the reports coming over the radio were not good; no one on the search team had seen any signs of life.

The team called out their names on the megaphone and then waited quietly to hear if someone would call back. Unfortunately, the strong winds made it very difficult to hear any sound. The pressure and tension increased as time passed by with no signs of the father and his sons.

Suddenly, there was a slight break in the intensity of the wind. The team took advantage of the lull and called out again, and suddenly the team heard barely audible children’s voices calling out for help. The team immediately changed directions towards where they thought they heard the voices coming from. It took another 20 minutes until the rescuers reached them. The volunteers immediately removed their coats and wrapped the father and two sons, and then they led them to a car waiting to transport them home.

The team was able to save the father and two sons and the volunteers later stated that watching the  reunion between the worried mother and her husband and sons was truly remarkable. The anxious mother had been waiting for hours to hear good news. There was not a dry eye among all the “tough” members of the rescue unit when they saw the mother embrace her family.

Another three lives had been saved.