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Border Patrol Rescues 3 Lost in Desert with no Water

Release Date: 
March 22, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents rescued three individuals March 20, one of whom used a satellite phone on a rescue beacon to call for help.

Border Patrol Rescue Beacon, which is set up to bring personnel to the rescue of migrants in distress

Border Patrol Rescue Beacon, which is set up to bring personnel to the rescue of migrants in distress

Agents assigned to the Ajo Border Patrol Station received a call for assistance from a caller stating he was out of water and in need of help. The call came from a rescue beacon located 21 miles north of the border; 46 miles from I-8; and 11 miles from the town of Why, Arizona.

Agents quickly found the caller, gave him water and assessed his condition. The man later identified as a Mexican national named Jorge Tafoya-Barajas, declined further medical attention and was transported to the Ajo Border Patrol Station.

Rescue beacons are comprised of solar charging systems, highly reflective rotating devices, and high intensity blue strobe lights on top of 25-foot masts, and are visible from more than 8 miles away. Tucson Sector currently has 32 rescue beacons, several of which have been equipped with satellite phones.

Later in the afternoon, Ajo Border Patrol agents received notification a 911 call from two men lost in the desert. Again, agents quickly located the men, one of whom required precautionary intravenous therapy. 

The pair, identified as Jorge Bautista-Ruiz and Julian Cancino-Jimenez, both Mexican nationals, told agents they had been traveling separately in the desert for several days. Bautista said he encountered Cancino earlier in the day and gave him some of his water. They also told agents that they had no idea where they were in relation to water sources or civilization. When they were found, they had no water between them. Both were transported to the Ajo Border Patrol Station.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017