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First Responders Team Up to Rescue Trapped Man from Drowning

Release Date: 
October 4, 2018

TUCSON, Ariz. – Ajo Station Border Patrol agents and the Gila Bend Fire and Rescue extracted a 36-year-old Mexican man stuck inside a culvert drainage pipe near Gila Bend on Tuesday evening.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations helicopter flight crew responding to a citizen’s call of possible illegal aliens in the area, saw a man enter the pipe. The flight crew reported the man’s location to Border Patrol agents on the ground, who found the subject trapped inside the pipe amid rising water and mud.

Agents contacted Gila Bend Fire and Rescue units for an emergency extraction while they continued to monitor the subject and help him keep his head above water.

After a concerted effort, Fire and Rescue units managed to extract the man, later identified as a Mexican national who had entered the country illegally. He was transported to a local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Upon release from the hospital, the man will be transported to the Ajo Border Patrol Station and processed for immigration violations.

Border Patrol officials continue to point out the dangers of crossing the U.S. border illegally through the desert where severe weather events can create life-threatening situations for migrants, as well as first responders.

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents conducted approximately 750 rescues in southern Arizona in Fiscal Year 2017, many with the assistance of AMO and first-responder partner agencies, such as Gila Bend Fire and Rescue.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Individuals can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.

Last modified: 
October 5, 2018