CBP Helicopter Crew Saves Woman's Life After Spotting Signal Fire

Oct 29, 2019

A 41-year-old woman from Honduras, attempting to enter the United States illegally, might not be alive today had a Yuma Air Branch helicopter not come to the rescue, right before she passed out.

Everything happened Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the desert around 19 miles southwest of Ajo, an area oftentimes deadly and treacherous, where undocumented immigrants attempt to cross.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Air and Marine Operations helicopter was only able to spot her thanks to a signal fire.

The crew touched down nearby right before she fell out of consciousness and collapsed, quickly rushing over and rendering first aid.

They then waited for a second helicopter - this one a LifeFlight chopper - to take her to a regional hospital where she received medical attention.

“I am incredibly proud of this aircrew,” said James Schuetzler, director, Yuma Air Branch. “Their attention to detail and keen sense of awareness proved lifesaving in this situation. This woman was in severe distress and we were lucky to find her in time. While I am glad we could rescue her, I urge people not to take this risk of crossing the border illegally is too dangerous and never worth risking a life.”

Schuetzler encourages anyone in distress to call 911 immediately or activate a rescue beacon if possible. These methods are the fastest ways to alert first responders and pinpoint the location where help is needed.