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Border Patrol agents rescue two men over the weekend

Agents rescued two men in separate incidents over the weekend, including a 75-year old hiker who called 911, and a man suspected of illegal immigration who activated a beacon in the desert near Three Points.

On Saturday, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department requested assistance from Nogales station agents after receiving a call from an injured hiker in the desert west of the I-19 checkpoint, according to a release from the agency.

Two agents located the 74-year old man, a U.S. citizen, and determined that his ankle was broken. Tubac Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and the injured man was carried to a waiting helicopter for transport to Tucson for further medical care.

Early Sunday, a Mexican national activated a rescue beacon on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Agents from the Three Points substation found the man, who had called 911 the previous day after running out of food and water.

The man, suspected of crossing into the country illegally, will be processed for removal after a medical evaluation. 

During the 2013 fiscal year, the agency rescued 460 people in the Tucson Sector alone. 

Border Patrol has been pushing to decrease the number of deaths in the Arizona desert through the Blue Light of Life campaign. The campaign  includes media to describe the dangers of crossing the Arizona border, as well as the deployment of beacons installed at the foot of 30-foot high towers topped with a blue light and mirrors, making them visible for miles.

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In August, the agency announced that 10 new beacons had been deployed, bringing the total number of beacons in the Tucson Sector to 32.

From the beginning of the fiscal year to July 31, the Tucson Sector reported 83 beacon activations, resulting in the rescues of 142 people.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths in the Tucson Sector has declined.

This year, the agency has discovered the remains of 100 people in the desert. This is down approximately 45 percent compared to the same time last year when the agency found 183 bodies in the desert, according to Peter Bidegain, an agency spokesman.

Nationally, the agency recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year, the lowest number since 1999 and significantly lower than last year, when the remains of 420 people were discovered.

In the Rio Grande Valley, where the numbers of illegal immigrants has increased dramatically, the agency has found 115 bodies.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

An agent with BORSTAR patrols the desert west of Tucson.