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Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Near Misses
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.


01/21/2007
A group of specially trained border patrol agents helped rescue a migrant who had fallen 50 feet into an old mine shaft. The man fell while walking along the border in a remote area located west of Columbus, N.M. "It took us a while to stabilize the patient because we didn't know the extent of his injuries," said Joshua Hitchcock, BORSTAR commader.

While the 26-year-old suffered serious injuries, BORSTAR agents also were concerned because it was only 28 degrees during this early-morning rescue. Add to that off and on freezing rain and snow, and Hitchcock said this made the situation even more dangerous. "If Border Patrol and BORSTAR were not notified sooner, there is a possibility that he could have died of hypothermia out there," Hitchcock said.

But despite the conditions, after three and half hours, BORSTAR was able to pull the man to safety. While this is the first time BORSTAR had to help a man out of a mine shaft, this isn't the first time a person crossing the border in a remote area has gotten into a dangerous situation. It is unfortunately all too often that people get injured or run into some kind of distress when crossing the border," said Iliana Holguin, the Executive Director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services.

Holguin, who works to help protect illegal immigrants, said the creation of BORSTAR has helped, but she said the increase of National Guard and Border Patrol along the border has added to the increase of migrant deaths. "What that does is forces immigrants to cross more in the deserted areas of the desert, which generally are the more dangerous areas," Holguin said.

But, Holguin and Border Patrol both agree that BORSTAR has helped to save lives, including the man who recently fell into the mine shaft, who is only alive because of rescue expertise from these agents. Border Patrol said the man will remain in Thomason Hospital until he recovers. (Source: KFOX-TV, El Paso, TX)