Apr 21, 2014 7:11 PM by Marissa Esquivel

CBP aircrew's high risk rescue

TUCSON - A Customs and Border Protection aircrew pulled off a risky rescue in Santa Cruz County over the weekend.

Saturday at 3:30 a.m., Border Patrol agents received a call from Santa Cruz County involving two illegal immigrants. A husband and a wife lost in steep terrain of southeast Tucson, the husband stated his wife was having a heart attack.

By 7:30 a.m., Tucson's Air Branch launched a helicopter with Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit agents on board to evaluate the situation.

When the agents arrived the helicopter was unable to land due to the steep terrain. Air crews were soon advised that because of severe weather, the mission was considered high risk.

At 9 a.m., another helicopter was overhead and began a hoist rescue. With the high winds, thunderstorms and temporary flight restriction due to a land fire about one mile from where they were rescuing the couple.

Still, 40 minutes later the helicopter crew reported the rescue successful with the female patient transferred to a ground ambulance.

The patient was later hospitalized for advanced cardiac care and her husband was turned over to Border Patrol for processing.

According to Mitch Pribble, director of Tucson Air Branch, "The dedication and professionalism demonstrated by the crew while conducting this life saving rescue under very difficult circumstances reflect greatly, not only on themselves, but also the Office of Air and Marine and U.S. Customs and Border Protection."


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