Border Patrol agents rescue 17 migrants from Arizona bombing range, including 9 kids
Yuma-area Border Patrol agents rescued 17 people from a remote part of the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, about 30 miles east of San Luis, Ariz., Monday night, authorities said.
Around 10:10 p.m., emergency services in Mexico received a 911 call from a member of the group, and relayed the call to the Border Patrol's Yuma Sector Operations Center, said Jose Garibay, a BP spokesman. The caller said that the group had crossed into the Arizona bombing range and had become lost, and that there were eight adults and nine children traveling through the desert.
Yuma Station agents began searching for the group, and by 11:30 p.m., they found them inside the bombing range's "area of operations," Garibay said.
All 17 people were found to be in "good health," and did not require medical attention, Garibay said. They were transported to Yuma Station where they received food, water, and access to care, he said.
The Barry M. Goldwater is a remote stretch of around 2.7 million acres of Sonoran Desert that has been used as a gunnery and bombing range since 1941. About 131 miles long, the range begins about 83 miles west of Tucson, and runs west, hemmed in only by Interstate 8 to the north, and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to the south.
Anyone attempting to walk from Mexico's Highway 2 between San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, and Lukeville, Ariz., toward Interstate 8 must cross through the bombing range, where the sandy, flat desert is marked by little shade and signs warning about unexploded ordinance.
A week earlier, Yuma Sector agents said they rescued 16 people in a 24-hour period, including three men at the Fortuna Mine, an abandoned mine in the Goldwater Range, about 13 miles east of San Luis. Agents said they rescued 12 other people near the Colorado River, including a girl who needed medical attention, and a man and his three-year-old daughter after he jumped into a salinity canal with the girl in his arms, but could not climb the banks, so agents threw a "rescue disc" into the water, and pulled them both in.
June's rescues alone easily surpassed the number of rescues agents in the area made last year, according to agency statistics.
From October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, Yuma Sector agents said they rescued 20 people, and the adjacent Tucson Sector rescued 923 people. Overall, the agency said that agents rescued nearly 4,300 people across the southwestern border.
In a statement, the sector chief Anthony J. Porvaznik reiterated his complaint that there is a "adequate lack of infrastructure to stop this occurrence," pressing for additional border barriers in the Yuma Sector.
"This particular area is especially dangerous for illegal border crossers due to the remoteness of the location," Porvaznik said, as people crossing through the range must "contend with the summer heat and the dangers of military training in the area."