Several hikers received an unexpected Christmas wish thanks to the combined efforts of the U.S. Border Patrol, CBP Air and Marine Operations and New Mexico State Police over the holiday weekend.
While most people were at home enjoying Christmas activities, two separate groups of campers found themselves trapped by rainfall and rapidly rising floodwaters in the Gila National Forest.
(Four people and two dogs were rescued off a ridge in the Gila Wilderness Christmas afternoon. Courtesy of KOAT and YouTube)
On Christmas Eve, Border Patrol received a call for assistance from the New Mexico State Police concerning four hikers that were reportedly trapped in a canyon near Silver City, New Mexico. An area rescue team located the group, but due to adverse weather conditions, they were unable to reach the group.
CBP Air and Marine Operators along with Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) Agents quickly responded for fear of the possibility the hikers might succumb to hypothermia.
Due to the combined effort, Border Patrol Agents were able to extract the group and bring them to safety the following morning.
However, holiday rescue efforts did not end there. A second call for assistance was received for a different group of campers fairly close to the first group. Once again, CBP rescue teams were able to reach this group without incident.
Both groups of campers were medically screened and are being reported to be in good health, aside from recovering from thirst and hunger.
This incident demonstrates how personnel from the U.S. Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine, in collaboration with other law enforcement partners, are able to quickly respond to situations originating in treacherous and remote locations in an effort to prevent the loss of human lives.