Photo: Blackhawk Helicopter Rescue of Migrant in Distress
A man stuck on a near-vertical cliff within the Cerro Colorado Mountains near Arivaca, Ariz., was rescued in a Customs and Border Protection joint operation earlier this week.
The subject, a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally, called 911 twice Monday stating he was lost and stuck on a ledge. The dispatcher was unable to obtain his exact location but a helicopter crew from Customs and Border Protection’s Office spotted the man around 10 p.m.
After the air crew determined the man needed help getting down the mountain, Tucson Sector Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue team (known as BORSTAR) was called in. The rescue mission was evaluated and rescuers decided it would be safer to delay the operation until daybreak.
BORSTAR agents remained on scene throughout the night. By 5 a.m. and with enough daylight to safely begin, rescuers started their ascent toward the subject using a Technical Rope Rescue system. By 9 a.m., a BORSTAR agent climbed to within 30 feet of the man but had to stop due to his position on the cliff and a lack of anchor points for the rope.
It was determined the individual would have to be extracted from the air.
A Blackhawk helicopter crew from the Tucson Air Branch then responded and extracted the subject using a Helicopter Rope Suspension Technique.
Air agents fast roped to the stranded man and prepared him for extraction. Once he was airlifted to a safe area, he was lowered to BORSTAR agents on the ground. He then was medically evaluated and treated for mild dehydration and will be processed as an illegal border crosser.