A 22-year-old Mexican woman trying to cross the U.S. border illegally fell from a 20-foot cliff on a mountainnous area in Ocotillo on Thursday night, injuring herself. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector had to rescue her.
The woman happened to be with her 44-year-old Mexican boyfriend at the time of the incident. Agents in the Remote Video Surveillance discovered what happened when they saw a man around 9 p.m. walking near Highway 98 east of Ocotillo. The man was then desperately waving his hands in the hopes of catching the attention of anyone nearby. Agents immediately responded.
The man did not appear hurt, although he pointed to his girlfriend. Agents had to carry out a difficult, intricate and possibly very expensive rescue effort to save the injured and distressed Mexican woman. Agents had to backtrack the footsteps of the man to get to where the girlfriend had fallen. The woman was in dire pain and complained of a back injury from the fall.
Agents quickly called Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS personnel determined that the woman needed further medical attention at a hospital. Doing so, however, needed extraction.
Border Patrol agents then placed the woman on a gurney and prepared her for an elaborate medical air extraction. A REACH helicopter was dispatched to the scene. Agents attached the gurney to the helicopter cable system. The helicopter crew was successful in safely extracting her from the area and taking her to a nearby trauma hospital for an evaluation.
An MRI performed on the Mexican woman at the hospital revealed a fractured spine and would need further medical attention.
Agents took the Mexican man to the station for further processing for trying to enter the U.S. illegally. The woman will be allowed to stay in the hospital until she recovers. Agents will later process her removal from the U.S.