Tucson, Ariz. – A male U.S. citizen in his late 50s, reported missing Saturday in the Huachuca Mountains south of Fort Huachuca, was rescued by a Black Hawk helicopter crew from CBP’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM).
OAM’s Tucson Air Branch received a call for assistance from the Naco Border Patrol Station stating they had been contacted by Fort Huachuca’s military police asking for assistance in locating the missing man somewhere in the mountains south of the Army base. The Tucson Air Branch then assembled a Black Hawk helicopter crew with equipment to conduct a possible helicopter rope suspension technique rescue.
The Black Hawk crew departed Tucson at 4:25 p.m. and, by 6:20 p.m., spotted the missing biker in the south end of Huachuca Canyon at an elevation of 6,400 feet. The helicopter attempted to land at the site but was unable due to the terrain. The crew decided a “fast rope” insertion (agents repelling from the helicopter) and short-haul extraction (with rescuer and victim suspended while in flight) would be the best method to rescue the man.
An air enforcement agent was then fast-roped from the aircraft to assess the victim and fit him with an air rescue vest. Meanwhile, the pilot and remaining crew departed to locate a safe landing zone .
After locating a landing zone, the crew returned to the agent who had finished preparing the man for extraction. The Black Hawk then short-hauled the suspended agent and man to the landing zone where they loaded into the helicopter. There was a short flight to Fort Huachuca where the man was transferred to waiting emergency medical service personnel for transport to the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center where he was treated for dehydration, tachycardia and hypoglycemia.
According to Arizona Joint Field Command Director of Air Operations, Andrew Duff, rescue activity increases during the summer season.
“This time of year, when the temperatures in Arizona are the hottest, the deserts and mountains can be very unforgiving,” he said. “This is the third rescue of a stranded or distressed person in the last 10 days. Whether it's a U.S. citizen out hiking or an illegal immigrant abandoned by unscrupulous smugglers, OAM has always answered the call.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.