IDU search dog Sniper leads rescue teams to Belinsky (left)
IDU search dog Sniper leads rescue teams to Belinsky (left) IDU Public Relations

A tense search and rescue effort has come to a happy ending in the city of Ramle, where the Israel Dog Unit (IDU), a nonprofit organization specializing in finding missing persons, has successfully found and rescued Arnold Belinsky, 84, after he was declared missing Monday.

A flier distributed during search efforts (IDU Public Relations)

Belinsky had gone out for a walk, leaving behind his cell phone, carrying only half a liter of water despite the extreme heatwave currently pervading Israel. This, along with prior diagnoses of Alzheimer's and dementia, caused him to be classified as a high-risk case.

His disappearance was determined to be unconnected to his pre-existing conditions; rescue teams found that in walking through an area of woodland, he crossed a deep hole concealed by brush. The bushes could not support his weight and Belinsky fell into the hole, where he remained for close to twenty hours as search efforts were underway.

At shortly past midnight on August 3, the Israel Dog Unit was called to the scene, where they added thermal imaging drones, a proprietary incident management system, and their eponymous working dogs to the search effort. Approximately two hours after dawn, Sniper, one of the IDU’s search dogs, located Belinsky and led rescue teams to him.

Police, MDA, and IDU volunteers extricated Belinsky alive and well. It is estimated that he may not have survived the next 24 hours had he not been found.

Searchers evacuate Belinsky from the area. (IDU Public Relations)

Assistant Commissioner Avnieli of the Israel National Police’s Shfela Regional Precinct praised the IDU’s efforts, saying “There is no doubt that the IDU, with their dogs and other means and methods of searching, saved his life. It is no ordinary person who would search through such challenging terrain. The Shfela Precinct once again thanks the IDU for its efforts.”

Israel National Police representative thanking the IDU team after the rescue. (IDU Public Relations)