Members of the Israeli Air Force's special search and rescue Unit 669 headed to Laos Sunday morning to try and find their comrade, a captain who took a six-week leave from the IAF that began in early July.
Twenty-five-year-old Avner Bardugo of Ramat Yishai went missing Friday when the kayak he was paddling with an Israeli companion hit a rock and capsized on the fast-moving but murky Mekong River. The companion managed to reach the Israeli consul from Vietnam, who has since arrived on the scene in order to coordinate search and rescue efforts.
Bardugo's family paid for an Israeli helicopter to be sent over to help with the search but has requested public assistance to help with rescue efforts. Bardugo, the oldest in the family, helped raise his four siblings after his father's death nine years ago. Money can be donated from within Israel in NIS 10 increments by sending the text message "hilutz" in Hebrew to *3377, or deposited to Bank Discount branch 095, account number 12878.