DEMING, New Mexico – A missing hiker who got caught up in a flash flood in a southern New Mexico forest was finally rescued after being stranded for four days without food or water, officials said Wednesday.
The man became trapped over the weekend in the Gila National Forest after heavy rains triggered flooding in an area of difficult terrain, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who participated in the search and rescue effort.
They said the hiker, whose name wasn't released, suffered a head injury when he lost his footing and fell after being caught in the flood.
The injured hiker was spotted on Monday after a helicopter deployed out of CBP's Deming Air Unit joined the search team and was able to guide rescuers on ATVs to the man's location to retrieve him. Crews with Mesilla Valley Rescue and New Mexico Search and Rescue were also involved.
“Our region has some rugged terrain and dramatic weather that can often strand people," said John Stonehouse, who coordinated CBP's aerial search. “Our CBP pilots and search and rescue personnel on the ground are often the difference between life and death to those caught up in flash floods or in the desert heat."