EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A rescue team used WhatsApp to track a pair of injured migrants stranded for days in the Arizona wilderness.
Tohono O’Odham Nation police on Thursday afternoon notified the U.S. Border Patrol’s Arizona Air Coordination Center that two migrants were in distress and needed medical aid in a remote area of the Baboquivari Mountains near the U.S -Mexico border southwest of Tucson.
Officials learned that the migrants, described only as a male and a female from Guatemala, had been in the desert for several days without water and could not walk any farther.
Because the migrants were in treacherous terrain, the officials activated a Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations launched a UH-60 Black Hawk from the Tucson Air Branch.
The aircrew spotted the migrants about 7 p.m. and sent down two AMO rescue specialists from approximately 130 feet above the ground. Video provided by CBP shows the rescue effort deep in the Baboquivari wilderness.
The rescue specialists assessed the migrants before securing them in air rescue vests and helmets. To reduce rotor wash, crews hoisted the migrants from 220 feet.
The aircrew flew the migrants to a baseball field at Veterans Memorial Park in the nearby town of Three Points, Arizona, where BORSTAR agents treated them for dehydration and blisters on their feet.
“While our aircraft fleet is equipped with the latest technology necessary to perform rescues such as this, we must always remember the risks associated with these kinds of missions,” said Michael Montgomery, director of Air Operations for the Tucson Air Branch.