15 undocumented immigrants from Guatemala found lost and freezing in desert

MARFA, Texas—A group of undocumented immigrants from Guatemala were found suffering from severe hypothermia Friday after wandering through the desert for a week.

AIA Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Derek Richardson was on patrol with USBP Agent Jesus Flores when they located the group’s trail in the  snow on the side of mountain.  After following the trail some distance, they were able to guide USBP – Marfa Station agents to the location of the individuals.

The Air and Marine Emergency Medical Services (AMEMS) program arrived to find 14 of the immigrants in various states of distress and one member already deceased.

Richardson provided medical care for the remaining survivors and called the United States Border Patrol (USBP). A casualty evacuation plan was put in place to move people from the top of the mountain.  Less critical patients were moved by vehicle, while critical patients were moved by helicopter.

Ambulances were available on the ground to transport the injured to Big Bend Regional Medical Center (BBRMC).

“While the loss of even one life is tragic, the heroic efforts of our expertly trained agents responding to this chaotic, mass-casualty event clearly saved 14 lives from certain death,” said Supervisory Air Interdiction Agent ad AMEMS Program Manager Jeff Birks.  “Their immediate and enduring response, under the harshest of conditions, reflects great credit upon themselves and our agency.”

The Big Bend area fell under an unexpected winter storm warning on Wednesday, which is believed to have caused the group to fall of course.