FILE: The AS350 Light Enforcement Helicopter (LEH) is a short-range, turbine-powered helicopter used by AMO to perform missions. | Photo courtesy CBP
It was a busy few days for El Paso’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrews as they conducted multiple individual rescues in extremely remote locations earlier this month.
On September 5, an EPAB AS350 crew, from the Alpine Air Unit (AAU), responded to an aviation request from U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Big Bend Sector to locate and rescue an individual in distress. Officials say the person had dialed 911 after suffering a snake bite.
The aircrew was on patrol at the time of the call, and located the injured person at the top of a remote mountain in a position inaccessible to ground assets.
“The aircrew donned personal protective equipment, made contact with the injured person (who had applied makeshift tourniquets above
the snake bite). The man was in deteriorating condition. The aircrew transported him to Big Bend Regional Medical Center to receive treatment where medical personnel processed him accordingly,” CBP officials said.
On the same day, USBP Big Bend Sector, Marfa Station, requested aviation assistance for an agent in distress, potentially suffering from dehydration.
“In the early hours of September 6, an EPAB AS350 aircrew redirected from their assigned border enforcement mission to re-fuel locate, and rescue the stranded agent,” CBP officials shared.
“The aircrew transported the agent to Big Bend Regional Medical Center for treatment where medical personnel released him later that day.”
CBP officials add that AMO’s “unique aerial capabilities equip aircrews to detect distressed persons, maneuver through challenging terrain, and relocate injured persons.”
During the current fiscal year, El Paso Air Branch (EPAB) crews have rescued 24 individuals.