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CBP ‘Predator’ Crew Finds Lost Immigrants in Desert

Release Date: 
August 13, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz. — A “Predator B” Unmanned Aircraft System, piloted out of Sierra Vista, Arizona, is credited for saving the lives of three individuals lost in Arizona’s desert earlier this month.

Agents staffing the Joint Intelligence Operations Center in Tucson received a 911 call on Aug. 4 from immigrants lost in the desert and in need of urgent medical care.

A UAS Predator B crew from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine, as well as the National Air Security Operations Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona, kicked into gear to help Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents search for the lost group.

The Predator B is equipped with a radar uniquely capable of finding people in vast open spaces. Within approximately 10 minutes after the initial call, the UAS crew spotted the migrants and relayed a video to screens within the JIOC. Now able to pinpoint the group’s location, JIOC staff dispatched a Border Patrol Search and Rescue Team helicopter to pick up and transport them to a Tucson hospital.

The UAS crew was credited with saving the life of one individual and rescuing the other two. 

NASOC-SV Director Dennis Michelini stated, “I’m tremendously proud of the work our crews put in to save these individuals.” 

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017