TUCSON, Ariz.—Agents from the Offices of Air and Marine and Border Patrol jointly rescued an injured man Tuesday near Sutherland Peak in the Coronado National Forest, approximately 10 miles south of Sierra Vista, Arizona.
OAM’s Tucson Air Branch received a request Dec. 28 which had originated from the Sonoita Border Patrol station after agents encountered an injured subject in a treacherous area on the side of a cliff at approximately 7,000 feet. A Black Hawk aircrew responded but, due to rough terrain, high winds and low visibility, had to return to base.
Sonoita Border Patrol agents stayed overnight with the victim until the Black Hawk crew was able to return the following morning.
Upon arrival, air and ground agents trained as emergency medical technicians provided medical care to the subject as hoist operators prepared to airlift the victim from the cliff.
“Air agents arrived on scene and found the subject on the side of a very steep slope,” explained Air Enforcement Agent Gabriel Hohol. “Although the subject had sustained serious injuries from his fall and needed to be evacuated quickly, he was considered stable.”
Mountain rescue operations are considered high-risk due to the altitude and difficult terrain. Thick foliage surrounding the subject presented an additional challenge, according to Hohol. “We had to conduct an accelerated extraction to avoid entanglement in nearby foliage.”
After hoisting the man onto the helicopter, he was flown to the Sonoita Fire Station for advanced medical care and later transported to Tucson Medical Center.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.