Closer look at rescue of seven people near Willcox - Tucson News Now

Closer look at rescue of seven people near Willcox

WILLCOX, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We are getting a closer look at the rescue of seven people in Cochise County. Crews found them in the area of Willcox Playa area early Friday morning.

Agents with the "Office of Air and Marine" were among those who played an important role in rescuing all several people. What began as a fun hiking trip turned into three days of misery.

They found a family of six and one of their friends stranded after spending several long days in the dry, hot desert.

"They had been out in the elements for over three days and had walked a fair distance," Mitchell Pribble, Director of Air Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said.

Agents used a fix winged aircraft equipped with infrared cameras meaning it can sense where people are. The picture provided by border patrol shows the Jeep where they found an adult, four children and two dogs.

"They were able to identify them by size that they were children," Pribble said.

The group left to go hiking on Wednesday, got stuck and one of the men went to meet his wife who tried to rescue them. By that time, the children and the man's friend had gone walking to try to make it home. They found an abandoned Jeep and took shelter. Meanwhile, search teams of about 20 to 30 people scoured the area, tracking foot signs on the ground and using high end technology up above.

"Had he simply called the county sheriff's office to begin with, the rescue would've occurred much quicker," Pribble said. "The family wouldn't have had to walk. There could've been injury."

Despite all the risks, the group was checked out and everyone is said to be in good condition.

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