Sahuarita company helping to save refugees with rescue robot - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Sahuarita company helping to save refugees with rescue robot

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Every day, thousands of refugees continue to risk their lives trying to reach the safe shores around world. A new life-saving robot is helping them get there and it's made in Southern Arizona.

So far, an estimated 4,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East have lost their lives at sea attempting to reach European countries. Greece is a popular destination. There is now a new life-saver in service there to help, a gift from a company in Arizona.

It's called EMILY, Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard. It may look like a giant carrot, but according to Anthony Mulligan, President of Hydronalix, it is actually a super life buoy.

"EMILY can be driven out in a few seconds, 100 meters, four or five people grab on and they pull her back", said Mulligan. "Then they drive it out again immediately, and the battery will let EMILY do that mission about 80 times."

EMILY also has a camera with night vision and a two-way radio. New models will have a bullhorn so rescuers can talk to large groups of people from the water. This is an incredible life-saving tool developed and made by Sahaurita-based company, Hydronalix.

"I'm a U of A graduate, went to high school in Buena," Mulligan said. "When I sold my last business to a large aerospace company, I wanted to do my next manufacturing high technology company in a rural area, and we wanted to stay in Sahuarita."

EMILY has already saved hundreds of lives, but there is one rescue Anthony Mulligan will never forget.

"The first unequivocal, without EMILY, these people would have drowned, came to me on my birthday," said Mulligan. "So that is my favorite birthday present I have ever gotten."

What started as a home business in 2009 with $70,000 in sales is projected to reach upwards of $300 million over the next few years. Mulligan said 200 new EMILY'S will be in the water over the next year.

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