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CBP Aircraft Assists General Aviation Aircraft in Distress

Release Date: 
June 3, 2014

BURLINGTON, Wash. — On May 29, 2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Air Interdiction Agents (AIA) assigned to the Office of Air and Marine (OAM), Bellingham Air and Marine Branch, responded to a Mayday call from a Cessna 172 aircraft just west of Skagit Regional Airport.  

The call for the Mayday was made on the airport advisory frequency as OAM agents were preparing to depart the Skagit Regional Airport aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for a routine training mission. The pilot aboard the Cessna informed the agents that the aircraft included an instructor pilot and student and was experiencing engine trouble six miles west of the airport over Padilla Bay.

The OAM Black Hawk immediately launched to assist the aircraft in distress and located it approximately a mile and a half from Skagit Regional Airport. After locating the troubled aircraft the OAM UH-60 aircrew escorted the aircraft back to the airport where it landed safely without further incident.

“This is another great example how the men and women of the Office of Air and Marine assist pilots in the general aviation community,” said Eric Rembold, Director, Office of Air and Marine, Northern Region. “It is an unwritten rule in the aviation community that when another pilot is in distress you help them out. We were lucky to be there for them when they needed us and I know they would be there for us too if we needed them.”

OAM is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, and is a critical component of CBP’s layered enforcement strategy for border security. With more than 1,200 federal agents, 257 aircraft and 287 marine vessels operating from 83 locations throughout the United States, OAM uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.