Border Patrol rescues injured man from mountains
SAN DIEGO (AP) – A suspected illegal immigrant with a broken leg who spent seven days crawling through remote mountain terrain was rescued Tuesday by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The man, whose identity and nationality were not yet known, drank stagnant water and his own urine to survive, Border Patrol spokeswoman Gloria Chavez said. He was found without shirt or shoes, trembling and possibly hallucinating, she said.
”God bless you,” he said in Spanish, when Border Patrol agents came to his aid.
An agent who routinely hikes through the Otay Mountains east of San Diego to check for illegal immigrants discovered the man about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Chavez said that he was found in an area often used by illegal immigrants.
He was rescued by helicopter and flown to Sharp-Coronado Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition Tuesday afternoon, said Jacki Wallen, a hospital spokeswoman. He was being treated for the broken leg and severe dehydration.
”It’s not very common that we find people in this type of condition,” Chavez said. ”A few more days and this person would not be alive.”
As Border Patrol agents hovered overhead in a helicopter, the man crawled through thick brush to wave for help. Agents rappelled down into an area known as Windmill Canyon and lifted the injured man off in a litter.
The man told agents that a group of suspected illegal immigrants found him a few days ago, gave him a little food and left him behind. That food probably helped keep him alive, Chavez said.
She said illegal immigrants often come across injured migrants on the perilous routes used by thousands to enter the United States, but they will only inform Border Patrol agents if they are captured.
Last month, 14 Mexicans were found dead in the desert of southwest Arizona, where they were walking a 70-mile route known as ”The Devil’s Path.” A guide who abandoned them faces 25 counts of smuggling.
Border Patrol agents in San Diego have rescued 331 people since October.
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