Border Patrol warns of dangers crossing border after air rescue

Border agents save lives in the desert

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - After a helicopter rescue Tuesday, May 7 the Border Patrol is warning of the dangers of crossing the border as temperatures rise.

The Air Marine Operations said they do about 15-30 rescues a year. Each rescue can take one to two patients. With large caravans heading to the border, the resources could be stretched.

“It can take us anywhere from as little as 24 hours to upwards of 80 hours to extract a group of 400 from the desert,” said Roy Villareal, Tucson Sector CBP Chief. “In that short amount of time, these vulnerable populations can succumb to the desert heat.”

CBP said in the Tucson sector beacons helped save 153 people in 2018. So far in 2019, Tucson’s Missing Migrant Program has received about 350 inquiries on missing migrants.

“My deputies recover dozens of bodies in the desert of Pima County every year,” said Mark Napier, Pima County Sheriff.

On Thursday, May 9 CBP showed some of the elements migrants could face in the desert—demonstrating hiking in hot temperatures, smugglers and a car wreck.

“The Border Patrol has a twofold mission,” said Joe Curran, with Border Patrol.

Curran said the mission of CBP has started to focus more on search and rescue humanitarian efforts. As summer approaches, they hope people will reconsider crossing.

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