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DPS helicopter airlifts woman from remote mountain after BP chase

A helicopter crew with the Arizona Department of Public Safety airlifted a 24-year-old woman from a remote section of the Tohono O'odham Nation Wednesday morning after she collapsed, authorities said. 

Around 9 a.m., Border Patrol agents from the Casa Grande Station began tracking footprints from a group of people suspected of being in the country without authorization. The group was traversing the desert south of Federal Route 28, a remote highway west of Sells, about 74 miles south of Tucson, said a spokesman with Tucson Sector Border Patrol. 

Over the next six hours, agents tracked the group over 14 miles, ultimately encountering the group in the rugged, shale-covered Sierra Blanco Mountains, the spokesman said. 

The group of 16 people, dressed in camouflage, split into several smaller groups along the steep mountainside, "in an attempt to evade agents," the spokesman said. 

A helicopter crew with CBP's Air and Marine Operation tracked the groups and helped agents locate several people before a woman traveling with the group collapsed on the and began sliding down the loose rock on a mountainside, he said. 

As agents continued to "search for and arrest members of the group," a Border Patrol agent with emergency medical training began to help the woman by using a rope and carabineer system to keep her from sliding further down the hillside. The agent then gave her intravenous fluids. 

Meanwhile, DPS dispatched one of their helicopters, Ranger 5, to the scene. The helicopter crew airlifted the woman from the mountain and flew her to a local hospital where is she is "recovering from severe dehydration." "This was in the middle of nowhere," said an agency spokesman. "The footguide was really pushing them, and they were trying to evade arrest by traveling in a remote, rural territory." 

The remaining 15 people were found in good condition condition and were taken to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station for processing, he said. 

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A Border Patrol agent with EMT training prepares a woman, identified only as 24-year-old, to be airlifted from a remote mountain peak in the Tohono O'odham Nation by Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers.