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10 immigrants rescued in desert area

June 06, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

IN-KO-PAH — The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended a group of 47 undocumented immigrants Wednesday — 10 of whom were suffering from heat exhaustion — in the Boulder Creek area here.

One member of the group was in an advanced state of dehydration as temperatures soared over 100 degrees, according to Border Patrol Agent Manuel Figueroa.

The group was spotted about 2 p.m. by agents patrolling the area. The agents apprehended the immigrants and found that 10 were suffering from heat exhaustion.

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Figueroa said, "One of them was in pretty bad condition."

The Border Patrol Search, Track and Rescue unit was activated to remove the 10 immigrants from the area and get them to a hospital.

The one in the advanced stages of dehydration was taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center and then airlifted to Yuma Regional Medical Center.

Out of the remaining nine, five were taken to ECRMC and four were taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley.

Information on their conditions was unavailable this morning.

Figueroa said the rescue operation was difficult because the immigrants had split into smaller groups and the area the terrain they were in is treacherous.

He said the BORSTAR unit climbed through valley's, creeks and steep mountains to take water to the immigrants.

Figueroa added they don't know exactly how long the immigrants had been walking but think it was for a while.

He said the person that was in the advanced stages of dehydration had not eaten in more than a day. He had drank a small amount of water earlier that day.

"Lack of water, no food and the heat; it's going to kill you," said Figueroa.

Figueroa said of the man, "He surely would have died."

Figueroa said the rest of the immigrants had very little to no water.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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