A Mexican woman attempting to cross into the United States illegally was left hanging—literally.
In a news release Monday, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector gave the following account:
According to CBP’s account, two smugglers were in the process of lowering the woman down the fence into the United States from Mexico on Saturday night when they were spotted by agents patrolling the border east of Nogales, Arizona. The woman “attempted to climb back over the fence into Mexico” when the agents approached, but she was reportedly left hanging by the smugglers. She was wearing a harness and being lowered using a hoist rope, according to CBP.
CBP called Nogales Fire Department for assistance, and firefighters then responded and were able to get the woman down uninjured.
“It took about 15 minutes to get her down, prior to that she had been there for close to thirty minutes,” William Sanchez, Assistant Chief of the Nogales Fire Department, told LAist. “I think she was hanging from the fence for about 40 or 45 minutes.” Sanchez estimated that the section of fence where the rescue occurred is about 20 to 25 feet high. The woman was suspended approximately 15 feet off the ground at the time, according to CBP’s statement.
The small town of Nogales (population 20,837) is about 70 miles south of Tucson and borders the larger Mexican city of Nogales. For the Nogales Fire Department, immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border is no abstract political debate. The department, which typically has 12 people on duty between their two stations on a daily basis, responds to about two border crossing-related calls a week.
“People trying to jump the fence, wearing not a typical harness like this one, but still trying to go over the fence itself, people that are walking out outside the city limits in the hills and they get dehydrated and fall,” Sanchez said, explaining the different 911 calls they receive. “Fall injuries when they’re walking during the night and don’t see something and fall,” he continued.
The woman who was left precariously dangling from the fence is currently being processed for immigration violations, according to CBP.