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Mexican woman dies while 'ensnared' for hours in attempt to climb border wall

A 32-year-old Mexican woman died after becoming ensnared on the border wall near Douglas on Monday night, ending up trapped for hours, authorities said.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office said around 11 p.m. on Monday night they received a call from Mexican authorities that a woman was trapped on the border wall near W. International Ave. and Kings Road along the U.S.-Mexico border. The intersection is just south of the Border Patrol's station in Douglas, about 4 miles from the city's center.

Sheriff's Deputies responded and found the woman trapped on the border wall.  Officials said that the woman appeared to have been attempting to climb down on the U.S. side using a climbing harness and her foot and leg became entangled. She was "trapped upside down for a significant amount of time."

She was transported to a nearby hospital where medical professionals confirmed she had died.

CCSO officials said that the Mexican consulate's office was notified of the woman's death,  and Mexican authorities provided additional details to investigators. Tucson Sentinel requested additional details on the incident from the consulate's office in Douglas.

An autopsy will be completed to determine the exact cause of death, and CCSO detectives will continue investigating her death, said CCSO officials. The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner conducts autopsies for Cochise County under contract.

"These types of incidents are not political, they are humanitarian realities that someone has lost a loved one in a senseless tragedy," said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels in a statement." We have to do better in finding solutions to the challenges facing our border, and we have to do it for the right reasons. Regardless of opinions, it is the facts that should direct our progress and we will keep working towards a shared goal of border safety and security."

Climbing over the wall was a dangerous prospect even before the Trump administration moved to dramatically increase the height of the border wall from 18-foot-tall panels to panels that reached 30-feet. In March, three people died after falling from the border wall near El Paso, Texas, including a pregnant Guatemalan woman. And, in Yuma, a 33-year-old man suffered fatal injuries after he fell from the wall in July 2020.

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Meanwhile, dozens more have been seriously injured by falls from the border wall.

In 2017, Border Patrol agents found a 37-year-old hanging from the border wall east of Nogales. The agents spotted two smugglers attempting to lower the woman into the U.S. using a harness and rope. As they approached, she attempted to climb back into Mexico, but the smugglers left her hanging approximately 15 feet above the ground, officials said at the time.

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Nogales Fire Department personnel work to rescue a woman who was trapped on the border wall approximately 15 feet above the ground after two smugglers abandoned her during an incident in 2017.

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