TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) extracted two migrants suffering from hypothermia in the Baboquivari Mountains.
At approximately 6:00p.m. on Friday evening the U.S. Border Patrol’s Arizona Air Coordination Center received a call from the Tohono O’odham Police Department requesting assistance with two migrants located in the Baboquivari Mountains. The two men had been in the desert for several days were out of water, exhausted, and could not walk any further. A2C2 was able to use the smartphone application WhatsApp to develop their coordinates 20 miles north of the border, north of Baboquivari Peak. A National Guard helicopter was able to pinpoint their position, but not able to extract them from the mountains. Not having a hoist aircraft readily available, the men were instructed to lay up for the evening.
That evening, a UH-60 Black Hawk crew launched from the Tucson Air Branch and arrived on scene around 9:10 p.m.; the aircrew located the migrants at over 6,800 feet in altitude, deep in the Baboquivari wilderness. The crew could not find a suitable landing area near the migrants due to the steep, rugged terrain. After establishing a hover 100 feet above the ground, the crew inserted two Rescue Specialists via hoist. Once on the ground, the Rescue Specialist assessed the migrants, who were cold but unhurt. The migrants were secured in air rescue vests and hoisted back up to the helicopter and transported to a Border Patrol Agents waiting nearby.
“Without visual reference points everything become more difficult at night,” said Director of Air Operations, Tucson Air Branch, Michael Montgomery. “Our aircrews meet the challenge and succeed in finding those evading apprehension or yearning for rescue.”
AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With federal agents and mission support personnel, aircraft, and marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.