On Friday morning, Dec. 7, a Pima County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher transferred a 911 call to the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team. The caller, a Guatemalan man, said he and his wife had illegally crossed the border two-days prior, but his wife had fallen about 45-feet and was unable to stand or walk.
Within an hour, BORSTAR and CBP Office of Air and Marine coordinated efforts for a rescue mission using a Blackhawk helicopter. When the team arrived, they discovered the scene of the accident was approximately halfway up Baboquivari Peak. The extreme terrain provided no place for the Blackhawk to land, so BORSTAR agents deployed from the helicopter and hiked about a quarter mile to reach the couple.
Agents evaluated the woman and determined she had suffered a possible leg fracture, and to extract her safely, they would have to employ a Helicopter Rappel Suspension Technique (HRST).
While BORSTAR agents rendered aid to the woman, the initial Blackhawk was replaced with another Blackhawk equipped with a HRST crew, comprised of OAM Air Enforcement and Interdiction agents and BORSTAR agents specially trained to conduct the rope extraction.
Agents fast-roped into the area and the couple was successfully extracted. Once out of the mountains, the woman was transported to a waiting EMS crew who transported her to a local hospital.