Members of Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations Unit are speaking about a recent rescue mission they took part in Southern Arizona where a hiker was stranded in the snow.More than 100 feet above the ground, gliding over a sea of trees, inching closer and closer to the frozen Huachuca Mountains, that’s what you see in a video CBP released from a February 25 rescue in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Forest.”We get a call there is a stranded hiker in the Huachuca Mountains and he had been stuck overnight in the mountains in the snow,” explains Agent Evan Shipton, the pilot of the Black Hawk helicopter that took part in the rescue operation.The five-person crew is part of the CBP’s Air and Marine Operations Unit Tucson Air Branch, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.That day, they got an early start, knowing the hiker had already been on the mountain for hours in the freezing temperatures.”A DPS helicopter had tried to go out and make contact with him, but the low cloud ceiling and high winds just prevented that from happening.”Agent Shipton says flying missions in the snow adds another safety concern.”Now you have to deal with blowing snow, white-out conditions — what are our two rescue specialists dealing with? How deep is the snow? We’re not even sure of that initially.”Thankfully, the crew that day had clear conditions on the 25-minute flight since they waited until the next morning, but the threat from Mother Nature wasn’t over yet.”We had to worry about the rotor wash and that can create whiteout conditions in our general area.”Agent Shipton says where the hiker was stranded was also a concern.”Then we go into our coordination with the crew and how things are going to happen from that point on. He was about 9,000 feet in altitude in the mountains.”As Agent Shipton is flying his crew to the scene, Agent Jena Demek is in the back of the helicopter, hashing out the game plan with the other agents onboard.”We kind of came up with a plan in the back,” Agent Demek explains. “Who’s going to go down first?”Before the doors of the Black Hawk even open, Agent Demek and the team are already formulating their strategy.The decision is made to send her partner down first since he is also an EMT; at this point in the mission, they’re not sure what condition the hiker is in. Since he may need medical care, they feel it is best to send her EMT partner down first.From there, Agent Demek lowers herself down on the hoist, which can carry up to 600 pounds. But it’s important to note that another agent remains on the aircraft, controlling the hoist and also leading it with his free hand while looking for dangers that may come about.Once Agent Demek makes contact with the hiker on the ground, she’s relieved to find out he’s in good condition and in good spirits, despite spending the night in freezing temperatures. He still has food and water — but did lose something else important: his shoes. Apparently, they got stuck in the deep snow drifts as he was hiking.Within a few minutes, the hiker and another agent get hoisted up in tandem with one another back onto the Black Hawk, which is hovering roughly 100 feet above the ground.Agent Demek remains on the ground and is the last to go up. As the door closes on this mission, they all realize how lucky this man was – not all calls end this way.”Some people might be in situations where they didn’t think make it out alive. You, in a way, you are a guardian angel. You do hard work and training. Do you feel that’s a fair description?” ABC15’s Nick Ciletti asked.”Yeah, I would think so for all of us, even the pilots up front. We all do this together so to be able to save that person or help somebody out, it feels good,” Agent Demek said.