A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircrew and U.S. Border Patrol agents teamed up to rescue a dehydrated migrant who became lost in the mountains of southern Arizona.
Operators at the Arizona Air Coordination Center (A2C2) received a 911 call from a male migrant lost in the Baboquivari Wilderness west of Tucson on the morning of October 24, according to information provided by Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials. The caller told officials he was alone and suffering symptoms of severe dehydration including vomiting, aching bones, shivers, and loss of appetite.
The dispatchers immediately launched search and rescue resources to find and rescue the lost migrant. The Tucson Air Branch launched a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter aircrew at about 8:30 a.m. to begin a search and rescue operation with a Border Patrol medic onboard, officials stated.
The aircrew arrived in the area and quickly located the distressed migrant. Due to conditions that prohibited a safe landing zone for the helicopter, the aircrew lowered an AMO Aviation Enforcement Agent Rescue Specialist 60 feet to the ground using the aircraft’s hoist.
The agent assessed the man’s condition and observed he suffered signs of dehydration. The rescue specialist hooked up the migrant and the aircrew hoisted the pair back to the helicopter.
The Border Patrol EMT then began emergency medical treatment including the insertion of an IV of saline to help re-hydrate the migrant. Within a couple of hours, the aircrew found the migrant and transported him to awaiting Border Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) Border Patrol agents who transported the migrant to a local hospital.
“Without hesitation, despite the risk from COVID-19, agents from both AMO and USBP routinely place themselves at risk to help their fellow man,” Tucson Air Branch Director Michael Montgomery said in a written statement. “The integration coordinated, and information gleaned by the A2C2 has led to more efficient search operations and better outcomes throughout the summer of 2021 in the Sonoran Desert.”
Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sabri Dikman added, “The collaboration between CBP components in Arizona is unmatched. Integrated aircrews and hoist capable helicopters have saved numerous lives since their introduction in Arizona.”