EL PASO, TX (Border report) – A rescue team used WhatsApp to track a pair of injured migrants stranded for days in the Arizona wilderness.
On Thursday afternoon, Tohono O’Odham Nation Police notified the U.S. Border Patrol’s Arizona Air Coordination Center that two migrants were in distress and needed medical assistance in a remote area of the mountains. Baboquivari near the US-Mexico border southwest of Tucson.
Officials learned that the migrants, described only as a man and a woman from Guatemala, had been in the desert for several days without water and could no longer walk.
Because the migrants were in dangerous terrain, authorities activated a Border Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) patrol, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Sea Operations launched a UH- 60 Black Hawks from Tucson Air Branch.
The crew spotted the migrants around 7 p.m. and sent two AMO rescue specialists to about 130 feet above the ground. Video provided by CBP shows the rescue effort deep in the Baboquivari wilderness.
Rescue specialists assessed the migrants before securing them in aerial life jackets and helmets. To reduce rotor blast, crews hoisted the migrants to 220 feet.
The crew transported the migrants to a baseball field at Veterans Memorial Park in nearby Three Points, Arizona, where BORSTAR officers treated them for dehydration and blisters on their feet.
“While our aircraft fleet is equipped with the latest technology needed to perform rescues like this, we must always remember the risks associated with these types of missions,” said Michael Montgomery, director of flight operations for the Tucson. Air Branch.