TUCSON, Ariz.— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) a Tucson Air Branch UH-60 crew worked with U.S. Border Patrol agents and conducted two rescues on August 28, including one hoist rescue from a brushfire in the Baboquivari Mountains.
Monday evening, a Tucson-based UH-60 aircrew responded to a Tucson Sector U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) agent’s report of an ongoing search in the Baboquivari Mountains for a 911 caller. The aircrew located the person and determined the terrain was not trafficable by ground as the individual was surrounded by sheer cliffs on a high mountain peak. Additionally, the ground was saturated from recent rainfall and a second storm was fast approaching. The UH-60 crew conducted a landing, rescued the undocumented migrant, and transferred him to U.S. Border Patrol agents for processing.
The aircrew continued, on aerial patrol and received notification from the Arizona Air Coordination Center that another person required rescue. The UH-60 crew located the second individual near a life-threatening brush fire that had erupted after a passing thunderstorm in the Baboquivari Mountains. The Tucson-based crew lowered an AMO Rescue Specialist via Air-Lift Rescue Vest (ARV) and conducted a hoist rescue of the female in distress. The crew transferred the rescued individual to BORSTAR agents for processing.
“The terrain and weather encountered in the Baboquivari Mountains are dangerous,” stated Jose Muriente, Deputy Director of Tucson Air Branch. “You are putting yourself at extreme risk when you try to navigate these unforgiving conditions.”
AMO aircrews train regularly to meet the demands of search and rescue operations in environments that are remote and challenging to navigate by ground. AMO crews utilize UH-60 aircraft and hoist equipment, as well as uniquely-trained personnel such as Air and Marine Emergency Medical Services (AMEMS)- certified agents and Rescue Specialists to enable dynamic response to unpredictable situations.
In Fiscal Year 2022, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 967 arrests and 134,981 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 250,616 pounds of cocaine, 1,475 pounds of fentanyl, 25,625 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,342 weapons, and $21.7 million.