YUMA, Ariz. – Ajo Border Patrol Station agents received a telephone call from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department on the evening of April 10, concerning three subjects possibly in distress near Gunsight, Ariz.
Approximately two miles away, Air Interdiction Agents from Yuma Air Branch were responding to a group of 30 to 40 possible illegal immigrants detected on the southwest side of Gunsight Hills. While working that group, they started hearing radio traffic about a 911 call somewhere near the casino on Highway 86. The Ajo agents were attempting to get a better idea of the caller’s location, based on the limited information they were getting.
As soon as the ATVs came in and rounded up the big group the OAM helicopter crew was working, they contacted the ground agents working the 911 call and asked if they had more information on the caller’s location and how they could help. The Border Patrol agents had just located the caller and were in the process of interviewing him.
During the interview, the subject said he had walked for 90 minutes after leaving his unconscious nephew in a large wash.
The OAM crew started flying along the south side of the wash and soon saw a flickering light. As they approached, crew members saw one subject flicking what appeared to be a lighter and another subject who appeared to be unconscious. Using their onboard ‘Night Sun’ equipment, the aviators directed ground agents to the subjects’ location.
As soon as the ground agents arrived, an EMT started working on the victims right away. The pilot called for a Life Flight while agents carried the subject to their vehicle and delivered him to the Ajo helipad for pick-up and transport to the Maricopa Medical Center.
“In remote or rugged locations, OAM agents are often the first to respond to calls from citizens or sister agencies to assist with emergencies,” said Air Interdiction Agent Barbie Moorhouse, pilot of the AS-350 used to locate the victims. “In addition to border security, OAM is uniquely positioned to provide direct air support for a variety of missions.”