EL PASO, TX –After a two-day effort, Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) located and rescued a female hiker yesterday missing in the mountains near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
On Wednesday, March 16, the El Paso Air Branch responded to a call for assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) Unit after they reported a missing person near “Dog Springs Park”, in the mountains near Alamogordo. A UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and crew with a BORSTAR agent launched to conduct the search. Additionally, AMO launched an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) equipped with Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar, a side-looking airborne radar system designed to detect movements over land. The Sierra Vista-based UAS received an emergency certificate of authorization to fly near Alamogordo to aid in the search. The rescue effort was suspended at approximately 6:00 p.m. due to diminishing visibility and the lack of information.
On Thursday, the El Paso Air Branch resumed the search with the same crew and ultimately located the missing hiker atop a 200-foot rock cliff. The aircrew safely landed and a BORSTAR agent escorted her to the aircraft. Although cold and tired, the hiker was in reasonably good shape.
“There are times when Air and Marine crews must shift from air interdiction to rescue operation mode, especially now that people are becoming more active in the outdoors due to unseasonably warm temperatures throughout west Texas and New Mexico,” said Rodolfo Maldonado, Director, Air Operations at the El Paso Air Branch. “We’re dedicated to serving and protecting the American people.”
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.