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Life Saving Technology Leads to Migrant Rescues

Release Date: 
August 26, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz.Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents rescued two Mexican nationals during separate incidents recently near Ajo.

On Aug. 23, agents received a distress call from a man who had gotten lost after illegally crossing the international border. The man told agents he could see a blue light in the distance, an indication he was near one of 32 rescue beacons placed in the desert to help people in distress. Ajo agents instructed him to go the light and activate the beacon. Afterwards, agents initiated a search-and-rescue operation and located the man. 

On Aug. 24, Ajo agents received a second distress call from a lost individual who could only describe nearby landmarks. Ajo agents then used the information to define possible areas where the person might be located. 

Agents initiated another search-and-rescue effort, this time in conjunction with an Office of Air and Marine aviation team.

Using targeted search zones developed by agents on the ground, OAM’s aircrew located a person matching the caller’s description. Agents then made contact with the individual and provided assistance.

“We continue to deploy technology, improve processes and deploy personnel to reduce deaths in the desert,” said Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. “Our agents were able to respond quickly and helped save two lives.”

Both persons received medical evaluations and Mexican Consulate access before processing, in accordance with Tucson Sector guidelines.

The Tucson Sector Border Patrol places human life above all other factors when dealing with individuals in distress. Hard work and technology, such as rescue beacons, allowed agents to rescue more than 500 people since October 2014. Remote areas with extreme temperatures and terrain, requires Border Patrol agents to remain vigilant and focused while protecting America’s borders. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Contacting the Border Patrol to report illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017