Nearly five dozen illegal immigrants who traveled from Central America to the U.S. were reportedly rescued by Border Patrol agents last week after their smugglers allegedly abandoned them in the Arizona desert during a heatwave.
Agents from the Tucson Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border responded to an area west of Lukeville, which has a Port of Entry, after someone within the group called Mexican authorities for help, the agency said in a news release.
The caller said the group of 57 people had crossed the border illegally and needed help.
Agents responding to the distress call found 21 adults and 36 minors — 17 of whom were unaccompanied — in the area, where officials said it was 108 degrees. One of those found was an underage pregnant female.
“Several” of those smuggled into the country appeared to be dehydrated, but only one person needed further medical assistance.
All of those brought into the country were given food and water and brought to the Ajo Station for processing. The pregnant female was given intravenous fluids and taken to a hospital for treatment.
“Regardless of the unscrupulous and ill regard for human life attitude by smugglers, Border Patrol Agents work tirelessly to ensure not only the safety and security of our nation but also the safety of those who they come in contact with,” the agency said.
Border patrol officials warned in the news released that “due to the extreme heat,” the Arizona desert during the summertime is an “especially dangerous time to be stranded.”
The agency added that anyone who needs emergency assistance should call 911 or activate a rescue beacon — 30-foot-tall towers that send out calls for help with the touch of a button — for help.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.