Families of Missing Couple Send Out Their Own Rescue Team to Comb Tsunami-hit Beach

The last time relatives of Aya Shapira from Ramat Hasharon and Uzi Sagi from Kibbutz Horshim heard from them was the day before the tsunami struck the beach at Khao Lac, Thailand when they received an e-mail from the couple.

Once the damage on the long stretch of Khao Lac's beach became known, the couple's families decided to send out a six-person rescue team that began combing the area yesterday in the hope of finding the two.

Aya, 27, and Uzi, 28, met three and a half years ago when they were students at the Technion in Haifa. They traveled to Thailand after finishing their studies - Aya in architecture and Uzi in physics. As more time passes, the chances of finding the two alive decreases even further. "We are climbing the walls," Uzi's cousin Moran said yesterday. "We don't know what to do."

The rescuers began by visiting hospitals in the area, together with many other foreigners searching for their loved ones.

Then they set out for Khao Lac, but were unable to turn up any clue as to the whereabouts of the couple. The families, who have not given up hope, said the couple may have gone sailing and ended up on an island.