Guatemalan woman dies after 30-foot fall from border fence in California


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A 24-year-old Guatemalan woman has died after a 30-foot fall from a border fence in California, authorities said Friday. 

The woman was climbing a secondary fence at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego on March 21 and became stuck before she began yelling for help, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement. 

U.S. Border Patrol agents became aware of her around 10:30 p.m. They initially attempted to discourage her from climbing the fence, authorities said. 


The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department arrived at the scene around 10:48 p.m. as the woman was yelling that she was struggling to hold onto the fence, CBP said. 

However, when a firetruck arrived, it was unable to negotiate a narrow turn to deliver a ladder close enough to be used. 

“Agents advised the woman that the firefighters were on the way with a ladder and instructed her to hold on as long as she could,” CBP said. 

Meanwhile, the woman kept yelling for assistance before she fell at approximately 10:54 p.m., striking an elevated concrete base, CBP officials said. 

Responding agents arrived and noted that the woman sustained head trauma and profuse bleeding. She was unresponsive, authorities said. A physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital declared the woman dead after a telephone consultation with fire department medical personnel at the scene.

The San Diego Police Department and San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating this incident. The San Diego Fire Department Professional Standards Unit and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General are also conducting internal reviews of the incident.

CBP confirmed that portions of the incident were captured on body cameras worn by multiple border agents. 

In September, a woman died after falling from a border wall at the same Otay-Mesa crossing. 

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