FILE: The AS350 Light Enforcement Helicopter (LEH) is a short-range, turbine-powered helicopter used by AMO to perform missions. | Photo courtesy CBP

Customs and Border Protection chopper crew rescues woman, 29 other migrants from desert

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  Air Marine Operations (AMO) El Paso Air Branch helicopter pilots rescued a female migrant suffering from a heat related injury in the sweltering West Texas Desert.

CBP officials say that the discovery and rescue happened Wednesday, June 16th, shortly before 10 a.m. in remote area near Sierra Blanca, Texas.

AMO pilots flying in an AS350 light enforcement helicopter from El Paso Air Branch were on patrol when they located a group of 30 migrants in remote area, approximately 87 miles Southeast of El Paso.

“The aircrew guided U.S. Border Patrol Agents to the group and upon arrival the agents discovered an unresponsive female apparently suffering from some type of heat injury in need of immediate medical attention,” officials shared.

Due to the remote location and serious condition of the woman, the air crew determined flying the woman out was the best course of action. The AMO aircrew, along with a Border Patrol Agent, then transported the woman to Culberson County Hospital in Van Horn, Texas.

“Customs and Border Protection Air Marine Operations Branch pilots were able to make this life-saving rescue with the help of our U.S. Border Patrol partners. If we had not located the injured woman in time, the afternoon heat could have proved fatal for this poor woman,” said John Stonehouse, Director, Air and Marine Operations El Paso Branch.

“Human smuggling organizations continue to illegally push these vulnerable migrants across the border in the deserts and mountains of West Texas and New Mexico in 100 degree plus weather placing their lives in danger. They often abandon these people in remote areas without food or water. It demonstrates just how little concern these criminal organizations have for the safety and wellbeing of the people they exploit.”