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Border Patrol, Air and Marine, and MCAS SAR Coordinate Efforts to Rescue Distressed Individuals in the Sonoran Desert

Release Date: 
February 10, 2016

YUMA, Ariz. – Feb. 7, an illegal immigrant activated a rescue beacon in the Sonoran desert. A rescue beacon is a tower located in secluded areas of the desert that individuals can activate when in distress. This activation sends a signal to Border Patrol to come rescue them. A coordinated effort between Yuma Sector Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR), and pilots with Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Search and Rescue (MCAS SAR) successfully assisted ground units’ efforts to locate the missing man.

Feb. 9, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from an illegal immigrant stating he had been in the desert for several days and was unable to continue. YCSO contacted Yuma Sector to inform them of the situation.

The call launched another coordinated effort between BORSTAR and pilots with Air and Marine Operations.  The teams departed the Yuma air branch staging area and located a signal fire the man started. The man was treated on scene for mild dehydration.

A second 911 call was received an hour later. YCSO provided coordinates and agents were able to locate the second man lying on the ground.  A BORSTAR agent began medical care at the scene. The victim was transferred to Tri-Valley ambulance service for ground transport to Yuma Regional Medical Center.  After treatment for severe dehydration, the man was released from the hospital in good health.

In each of these events, the men were transferred to Wellton Border Patrol Station following treatment for further processing.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017