EL Paso Air Branch assists in rescue of injured hiker

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EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Marine Operations, El Paso Air Branch, assisted El Paso Fire Department’s Combined Search and Rescue with the helicopter casualty evacuation of an injured hiker in the Franklyn Mountains on Sunday.

El Paso Police Department called AMO El Paso Air Branch requesting assistance in helping rescue 51-year-old female hiker with a broken leg on Smugglers Pass Trail near Transmountain Road. The woman fell while hiking in rough terrain Sunday morning, sustaining a head injury and a broken leg. 

AMO Air Branch dispatched a UH-60 Blackhawk to airlift the injured hiker in a rescue basket along with an Emergency Medical Technician so that the patient could be transported out of the mountains to a road with a waiting ambulance for further transport of the patient to a local hospital.

CBP AMO El Paso Air Branch regularly trains with El Paso and El Paso County Search and Rescue teams to conduct helicopter casualty evacuations.

“This rescue is an example of why CBP pilots in the El Paso Air Branch regularly train with our local El Paso Combined Search and Rescue partners to conduct this type of life-saving casualty evacuation,” said John Stonehouse, Director AMO El Paso Air Branch. “CBP AMO helicopters and crews often work with local SAR teams to conduct emergency casualty evacuations in West Texas and New Mexico. Our ability to operate effectively together can be the difference between life and death when a person is in distress in the unforgiving desert and mountainous terrain of this region.”


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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.