Rescue beacons placed in the Arizona desert by Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials led to the rescue of five migrants on Monday.
Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents received a signal from a rescue beacon located in the Arizona desert. Agents immediately began a search and rescue operation leading to the rescue of a 44-year-old Guatemalan woman and her 16-year-old daughter, according to information obtained from Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials. Officials did not disclose how the mother and daughter ended up alone in the desert.
A few hours later, the activation of a second rescue beacon led to the rescue of a 20-year-old Ecuadorian man and a 22-year-old Guatemalan man who became stranded in the desert.
A 23-year-old Mexican man became the third migrant to be rescued on Monday after activating a rescue beacon near Lukeville, Arizona.
Agents rescued all five of the migrants from the harsh conditions the migrants were ill-prepared to face.
Border Patrol agents from the Casa Grande and Ajo Stations carried out the search and rescue operations and provided immediate medical evaluations upon finding the migrants, officials reported. All five migrants were found to be in good health and were transported to their respective Border Patrol stations for processing and a biometric background investigation.
“Rescue beacons are self-contained, solar-powered units placed in remote locations considered to be high risk for people in distress,” Tucson Sector officials said in a written statement. “Approximately 35 feet tall, each is equipped with a high visibility strobe light on top of the structure. Many of the towers utilize a camera system to determine an appropriate response and aid in the rescue event.”
Officials report the beacons led to the rescue of 924 migrants during Fiscal Year 2019 which ended on September 30.
“Criminal organizations often abandon migrants in the desert. As a result, many perish along the border every year,” officials stated. “U.S. Border Patrol encourages anyone in distress to activate a rescue beacon or call 911 before they become a casualty.”
So far this year, nearly 350 migrants died while or shortly after crossing the border illegally from Mexico into the U.S., according to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrant Project. More than 100 of those deaths occurred in Arizona.