The U.S. Border Patrol has found the bodies of 97 undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert over the past 10 months, the latest being that of a 19-year-old youth.
"We got a call from a man asking for help. He told us he was crossing the mountains with his son who was hit by lightning. When the agents arrived he was already dead," Andres Adame, spokesman for the Border Patrol in Tucson told Efe.
Despite the decline in the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the border and the number of arrests in Arizona, people are still dying in the desert, since, Adame said, besides supporting the high summer temperatures they also have to weather the storms, which can strike at any time and very quickly move on.
"Most of the deaths occur in remote, hard-to-reach areas. If people fall and hurt themselves, they are left to die. Immigrants like to come over the mountains to avoid detection by the Border Patrol, but that's the most dangerous way to go because it's hard to rescue them," he said.
During fiscal year 2013, some 200 bodies were found, while so far in fiscal year 2014, which began last Oct. 1, the number stands at 97.
This decline is also reflected in the number of arrests. To date in the current fiscal year, 83,115 undocumented immigrants have been detained, while in fiscal year 2013 there were 111,570.
Authorities recommend that anyone who decides to trek across Arizona should bring a phone, a mirror and a flashlight.
"With the mirror they can be spotted from a helicopter if they are lost or injured, with the phone they can call 911 and with the flashlight they can be seen at night. That can save their lives," Adame said.