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A distress call helped rescue five illegal immigrants in the Otay Mountains on March 18, 2020.

The incident began at approximately 9:30 p.m. when members of San Diego Sector’s Foreign Operations Branch received a phone call from a group of Mexican nationals who said they were lost and cold in a mountainous area near the border in San Diego. The Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team was then contacted.

After several hours of coordination the group was located at approximately 1:00 a.m. in an area referred to as Colonel’s Ridgeline. The area is rugged, mountainous, and located about two miles north of the U.S/Mexico International Boundary and three miles east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

The group of five were determined to be Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S. 

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During their initial medical evaluation, an 18-year-old female in the group displayed signs of hypothermia and was in and out of consciousness. Using life-savings techniques, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, agents stabilized the woman and prepared her for transport. 

Due to inclement weather and low visibility, air asset extraction of the woman at the spot of her injury was not possible. Therefore, several agents carried her up extremely rugged terrain to a fire-break road where air assets could safely land. Using San Diego Fire Department air assets, the woman was transported to a local hospital for further care.

The four remaining people in the group were men, which included a 17-year-old boy. They were guided safely to nearby vehicles and driven to a local Border Patrol station for processing.

The woman is in critical condition at the hospital and remains unconscious. U.S. officials are coordinating with the Mexican Consulate to locate and contact the woman’s family because of the dire circumstances.