U.S. Customs and Border Protection Press Release
SIERRA BLANCA, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine Air Interdiction Agents and a Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technician were instrumental in saving the life of a Mexican man who fell from a cliff in a remote area south of Sierra Blanca.
About 7 a.m. Monday, Alpine Air Branch agents were on a routine helicopter night patrol south of Sierra Blanca when they spotted a campfire in a canyon. When they investigated further they realized there was a severely injured man at the base of a 40 foot cliff and another man was caring for him.
A quick assessment revealed the man was suffering from broken bones and possible internal injuries. Since the man's life was in jeopardy, the pilot left his crew member behind to render aid and took off to retrieve a Border Patrol EMT from the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol station.
The OAM pilot was able to retrieve the Border Patrol EMT and make it back to the scene in a little over an hour which probably saved the man's life. That trip would have taken several hours by truck because of the remote location and the rugged terrain in that part of the Big Bend Sector's area of operations.
The Border Patrol EMT had the man stabilized and ready for transport by about 9:40 a.m. The OAM aircrew transported the man to the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol Station where he was picked up by an air ambulance and transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, for treatment. He is expected to survive.
“We depend on the Office of Air and Marine,” said Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent John J. Smietana, Jr. “OAM's professionalism and quick response capabilities are critical to the safety of our agents, and sometimes others, as well as the law enforcement support they provide.”