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3 Mexican Women Die Of Cold, 2 Men Rescued In Laguna Mountains After Border Crossing

SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) – Three women died from apparent hypothermia and two men were rescued Monday after the group got lost in San Diego County's Laguna Mountains after having crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The five Mexican nationals called 911 at around 2:15 p.m. Monday after getting lost in rugged terrain amid cold, snowy weather near the Cuyapaipe Indian Reservation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports.

A Border Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team and CAL Fire crews were dispatched to the area, and a little after 5 p.m. Monday, a search helicopter located the group. Two of the women appeared unresponsive while the third was in-and-out of consciousness, USBP reports.

The rescuers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the women, but due to the weather conditions, agents were unable to hoist them to safety, USBP said. All three were pronounced dead by about 7:30 p.m. that evening.

Rescuers were waiting for calmer conditions in order to recover their bodies, after which they would be turned over to the San Diego County coroner's office. Their names were not released.

The two men, meanwhile, ages 37 and 22, were taken into custody for illegal entry.

"This incident that resulted in the tragic loss of lives was totally avoidable," San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. "We have said it many times, do not place your life or the lives of your loved ones in the hands of ruthless smugglers."

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