CHURUBUSCO, N.Y. – On December 2, U.S. Border Patrol was made aware of a group of people in danger in the forests of Churubusco, New York. Following a vehicle stop of a suspected human smuggler near the International Border between the United States and Canada, Border Patrol Agents learned – through roadside interviews – that the group in question, which included a family and their three children (aged between one and eight years old) were attempting to navigate a heavily wooded area in near-freezing temperatures. Fearing the group would become victims of the inclement weather, Agents contacted a member of the group by cellular telephone to guide them to the nearest Agent. During these communications, the group members, all citizens of Mexico, conveyed they were cold, disoriented, and scared.
As the search was ongoing, the group in question was discovered by a local resident, who sheltered them and contacted Border Patrol. Agents later learned through interviews with the group that some of them, including the children, had lost or abandoned their wet shoes and were walking barefoot when they were rescued. Dry clothing was provided to the group at the Burke Border Patrol Station.
“Attempting to cross the border illegally carries with it many consequences, not just administrative and criminal actions against the violator. This event could have turned tragic. I commend the agents on quickly assessing the situation and taking immediate action to preserve life. Furthermore, our appreciation goes out to the resident who provided shelter and called the appropriate authorities” said Burke Station’s Patrol Agent in Charge, Richard Parker.
In a separate incident on December 3, Border Patrol Agents rescued an individual in North Troy, Vermont. The individual was found by Border Patrol agents unconscious and was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with hypothermia. In both instances, the subjects had become disoriented due to weather-related trauma as they illegally crossed into the United States from Canada.
Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition of temperature loss from the body at a rate faster than it is produced. Low body temperature impacts brain function, which can cause disorientation and difficulty moving. Hypothermia is especially dangerous because a person may not know that it is happening and may further be incapacitated to do anything about it. Although associated with “freezing” temperatures, hypothermia can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40 degrees Fahrenheit) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in water.
The Swanton Sector is responsible for securing the land border between ports of entry in Vermont, New Hampshire, and northeastern New York. Citizens reporting suspicious activity is invaluable to the Border Patrol’s mission and we welcome community members’ information to help keep our nation’s borders safe. To report suspicious activity in Swanton Sector, please call 1-800-689-3362.
For more information on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission at our nation’s ports of entry with CBP officers and along U.S. borders with Border Patrol agents, please visit the Border Security section of the CBP website.