Deputies from the Yuma County Sheriff's Office rescued two men who were in the country illegally and attempting to cross the desert on Wednesday after one of them used a cell phone to call for help.

“Once again this shows the continued risk that these men and women crossing our deserts are willing to take, which in turn puts our deputies at risk—especially during the summer months—to save their lives," Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said. "Luckily, this incident did not have the tragic ending some others have had over the years. One life tragically lost, no matter where they come from, is one too many."

Spokesperson Alfonso Zavala explained that at approximately 8:34 a.m., the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a man who reported that he and another male were lost and in distress in the desert area south of the Foothills.

Deputies responded and began searching the area in their patrol vehicles.

"We were able to get an approximate location of where they were due to the cell phone tower their phone pinged off of," Zavala said."It was out in the middle of nowhere on the Barry Goldwater range."

Zavala said when deputies were no longer able to the search in their patrol trucks due to the terrain, they continued on foot.

After searching the area for some time, deputies eventually located the two men in a wash. The man who had called 911 told deputies that they were coming from Mexico and had been in the desert for approximately two days.

"They ran out of water and supplies," Zavala said. "Both men were in need of medical treatment."

The second man was unable to walk due to being very ill and was hallucinating.

Zavala said deputies carried the sick man back to the area where they had left their patrol trucks, while the other was able to walk on his own. A short time later a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter arrived on scene, and a Yuma Sector BORSTAR medic began treating the men.

Both males were later transported by deputies to the area of South Foothills Boulevard and East County 14th Street. They were then taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center for further evaluation.

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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