The Border Patrol has begun adding emergency medical technicians to its regular helicopter patrols in South Texas in response to the growing numbers of rescues it makes as illegal immigration arrests in the area surge.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz says putting EMTs aboard helicopters allows them to provide aid more quickly to those in need, including immigrants and agents.
An EMT and helicopter crew rescued an 11-year-old girl near Sarita on Sunday after she became separated from her group. Temperatures had dropped into the 40s that day.
Ortiz said the agency began consistently flying EMTs on routine patrols in September. Agents made more than 700 rescues in the sector, which includes the southernmost tip of Texas, last year.
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