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Border (Photo: The Republic)
A Guatemalan woman died in a desert area on the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range east of Yuma after falling ill and being left behind by the group of migrants she was traveling with, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
At approximately 4:38 p.m. on Monday, emergency services in Mexico notified the U.S. Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector Operations Center that a group of 10 undocumented migrants was lost somewhere in the desert, the agency said in a statement released Wednesday.
The migrants called emergency responders because one of the women in the group was losing consciousness and they had left her behind, officials said.
The Yuma Sector Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue Unit, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents, and an Air and Marine Operations helicopter were deployed to the bombing range to search for the woman.
The woman, who had died, was found by helicopter within 78 minutes. The helicopter crew also located five other migrants from the group during the search. Four other migrants were found by Border Patrol agents on the ground, according to officials.
The woman’s body was transported to a medical examiner’s office to investigate the cause of her death, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Her body will be transported back to Guatemala with the assistance of Guatemala’s consulate.
The remaining members of the group were medically evaluated and found to be in good health. They were transported to the Yuma Border Patrol Station for immigration processing, where they received food, water and care. They were also referred for immigration violations, according to officials.
“This was an unnecessary death,” Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony J. Porvaznik said in a statement. “This group should never have been on the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range."
Porvaznik said Yuma agents have seen an increase in illegal entries in that area, but planned infrastructure barriers could help lead to a decrease in the area.